Study after study links diabetes to chemicals in home products - pesticides - cosmetics - food additives & more!


Why diabetes is more serious than other illnesses - discussion & summary of upcoming chapters.


Compares diabetes rates today with rates years ago. Trends and disturbing predictions for tomorrow.


What malfunctions in the body that causes diabetes. Covers autoimmune - thymus damage - natural killer cells.


Diabetes = 12 year loss of life - increased rates of blindness - heart disease - cancer - kidney loss.


People experiencing true remission - defines honeymoon - suprising facts on beta-cell regeneration.


Research finding same chemicals causing diabetes cause obesity. Discusses obesogens - how & why


Time to take conclusions of scientists and put into real-time practice. Are doctors resisting?


Diabetes is the poster child for an illness caused by modern day chemical compounds. New studies coming out monthly continue to confirm that specific types of consumer products contain chemicals that, while convenient and cost saving for industry, are bringing each of us closer to diabetes with each passing day. This occurs as these compounds put into play a series of events that gradually increases the number of immune system cells that malfunction and mistakenly attack our healthy cells (called autoimmunity). During the beginning of this process, the body can keep autoimmune damage to a minimum as our thymus gland works to remove autoimmune cells that don't pass the friend or foe test. As a secondary back-up system, you have special immune system cells called natural killer cells that, along with their role of attacking viruses and cancer cells, also perform a seek and destroy mission for any autoimmune cells that sneak past the friend or foe test in your thymus gland. Unfortunately, with each passing year, the thymus gland and natural killer cells slowly lose their ability to remove these environmentally created autoimmune cells. When the protection from the thymus and natural killers is nearing an end - we then move to the final stage which results in rapidly accelerated autoimmune damage to body systems such as the pancreas. Even then the pancreas must sustain 50-90% damage to the insulin making beta-cells before type-1 diabetes appears. Interestingly, many of the same chemical compounds being found to cause type-1 diabetes are also being found to cause and worsen type-2 diabetes.

A Big Problem for Women

Just one of many diabetes promoting chemicals was reported in a 2012 Harvard Medical School study. Women with the highest levels of a common cosmetic chemical called phthalates (pronounced "thallates") had twice the rate of diabetes than women with the lowest levels of phthalates. The chemical is used as a thickening agent in cosmetic proucts such as perfume, eye shadow, moisturizer, nail polish, liquid soap, and hair spray.[9] It is also used as a solvent in plug-in air fresheners and used to soften and make plastics bendable in items such as shower curtains, vinyl upholstery, floor tiles, plastic food containers, plastic wraps. In otherwords, phthalates are everywhere, and unfortunately, the United States EPA has never required industry to test these chemicals for diabetes causing potential.

In this chapter we'll discuss details from over 20 different dozen studies linking diabetes with the use of pesticides in the home, chemicals added as thickening agents to perfumes and air fresheners, antibacterial chemicals added to cosmetics, chlorine based disinfectants, chemicals used in plastic wraps in food products, artificial sweeteners, monosodium glutamate, and specific pesticides found in food, some of which can build to higher levels in our bodies year after year. We'll outline how these chemicals slowly damage to your immune system's natural killer cells (which protect you from diabetes) and how they can damage your thymus gland (which works as a policeman to remove autoimmune cells). Regarding circumstances outside the home, we'll report on studies showing that diabetes increases from exposure to smoke from backyard trash burning and coal-fired power plants. Even the automobile is under attack for worsening diabetes over the decades, as reported in the May 2015 issue of Environmental Health, diabetes rates are 30% higher for people living less than 330 feet from high traffic roadways (who breathe higher levels of gasoline engine exhaust compounds).

When my son was at the University of North Carolina hospital after his diabetes diagnosis in May of 2016, I asked his physician what causes diabetes? His answer - "They don't know." Upon returning home, I began a search through the National Library of Medicine website (used for locating professional studies on medical topics) to see if the scientists agreed with his statement. I was surprised to find hundreds of studies conducted by doctors and scientists around the world coming to the opposite conclusion, and that conclusion was the dramatic rise in diabetes over the past decades is due to exposure from a number of different chemicals in consumer products and environmental settings, resulting in increased autoimmunity and then type-1 diabetes.

Since type-1 diabetes is caused by antibodies attacking the pancrease - has anything been found that can specifically cause the immune system to malfunction and attack the pancreas? Again, the answer to this question was an overwhelming - yes and will be discussed next.

Your House as the Cause of Diabetes

This next study will most likely make you want to pack your bags if you live in an older home. Researchers from four separate colleges from around the world followed 90 healthy non-diabetic young adults for 23 years. The results were reported in the journal Diabetes Care and found that people whose bodies had higher levels of the banned pesticide chlordane and chemical known PCB had what is called reduced insulin sensitivity. This means their bodies were not using insulin properly and is what the culprit in type 2 diabetes. Both chlordane and PCB's are found in the indoor air of older homes because of their common use before the 1980's. PCB's were used in caulking and varnishes of older homes and chlordane was the termite pesticide of choice during that era. It is also formed as an unintentional by-product during the chemical formulation of house paints today and is was found to be at highest levels in yellow paints.

Linking Environment to Diabetes

In the research studies outlined next, you'll see studies done by major universities across the world linking diabetes with many environmental circumstances including chemicals in cosmetics, plastic packaging in food, perfumes, air fresheners, plastic water bottles, dish washing soaps, chemicals in polyester clothes, chemicals in nail polish, detergents, common pesticides purchased from grocery stores, gasoline fumes during your next fill-up as well as breathing car exhaust itself (to name just a few). As you recall, if you are going to develop type-1 diabetes, don't worry, you need to lose 70-90% of your beta-cells in your pancreas before problems appear - right now you are most likely only at 20 or 30% damage so you have a little time. If you have prediabetes - studies suggest you are at about 40-60% damage, but at least if you know it, there is now a lot you can do.

Astounding 38-fold Increase in Diabetes
for People with the Highest Levels of Six Chemicals

The majority of medical studies discussed in this book show increased diabetes rates of 30% - 50% and even several hundred percent after exposure to a single or several chemicals in a particular consumer product. In this study from the University of Minnesota and Kyungpook University in Korea, researchers decided to investigate the effects of chemicals in combination that are also known to have diabetes promoting effects individually. This type of study design represents more closely to what all of us experience daily.

Using blood samples from 2,016 adults from the 1999-2002 National Health and Examination Survey, researchers looked for the presence of six different chemicals. Scientists wanted to determine if people with higher levels of these chemicals had higher rates of diabetes. Chemicals tested included the food and termite pesticide chlordane, the electronic and construction chemical PCB's (used in caulking and paint of older homes), the food pesticide DDE (in non-organic foods imported from South America), and several types of Dioxin (found in vehicle exhaust, trash burning and some pesticides). The chemicals were selected because they are commonly found in 80% of the population.

Scientists measured the levels of these six chemicals in each person's blood and then added them together to give a total chemical exposure dose. Results for the total chemical dose in these 2,016 adults were then divided into five separate groups - starting with the lower exposure group (for people with the lowest levels of total exposure dose) and gradually increased for groups with higher total levels of the 6 chemicals. Results were divided along percentiles - 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles.

When comparing diabetes rates in each group, it was found that people in Group 2 (25th to 49th percentile) had an astounding 14 times higher rate of diabetes than those in the lowest Group 1. Continuing this further, those in the highest chemical exposure Group 5 (those above the 90th percentile) had a 37.7 higher rate of diabetes than Group 1. The dramatically increased rates of diabetes for people with higher levels of these chemicals is unprecedented and points the finger straight to what is causing the massive increase in diabetes we are seeing today. In conclusion, the researchers stated,

Chronic exposure to low concentrations of POPs (persistent organic pollutants) in the general population may be more detrimental in developing adverse health effects than previously thought

Because of the importance and magnitude of these findings, it is important to discuss not just the names of chemicals increasing diabetes rates, but also, what consumer products and situations where you could be exposed to these chemical combinations. Although you won't find this information in the current study, we've done the homework for you. Below shows the chemicals found to increase diabetes 38 fold and where your highest sources of exposure.

(Main Source: Older homes & non-organic food)
Chlordane was routinely used as a termite treatment chemcal in foundations of homes built before 1989. It was banned because it was found to enter the interior air breathing space decades after application and was linked to many health problems and cancer. The problem is worse in homes built before 1980 in which it was used inside homes for the treatment of roaches, ants, etc.

2. PCB's
(Main Source: Older homes built before 1980)
Used in older power transformers seen on telephone polls as a cooling liquid, it was also used extensively in caulking, paint and varnishes of older homes built in the 60's and 70's. Small, but toxic levels continue to be emitted into the air of older homes which can be inhaled by occupants and gradually build up to higher levels over the years in the person's fat tissue.

(Main Source: Vehicle Exhaust - Waste Incineration - Trash Burning - Charcoal Grills)
Formed as a by-product when making some pesticides, dioxin is also formed during vehicle engine combustion and then inhaled by people driving on highways or those living near roadways. High levels of dioxin are also formed from waste incinerators and when homeowners burn trash containing plastics, chlorinated white paper and colored ink magazine paper. Very high levels of the most toxic forms of dioxin are formed when burning rubber insulation covering metal wires.

4. DDE
(Main Source: Pesticides in food)
The chemical DDE is the main breakdown compound of the pesticide DDT. Although DDT was banned in the U.S. decades ago, the general population still gets exposed to it in several ways. It is formed as a by-product in the manufacture of the pesticide known as dicofol. Other main routes of exposure come from non-organic food imported into the U.S. from countries in South America. For example, when South American farms use DDT, it soon breaks down to DDE. Foods with DDE are then exported into the U.S., (especially during the winter) and the chemical is then ingested by the consumers in the U.S., Europe and other countries. DDE is a chlorinated fat soluble chemical which leads to higher and higher levels of this chemical in your body as long as you continue to eat non-organic food. Why DDT is banned in the U.S. but allowed to be sprayed on food in other countries and then imported back to the U.S. is a scratch your head type question, so you need to ask your congressman about that one...). One way to quickly reduce DDE levels in your body is to consume only organic foods which are grown without pesticides. Doing this should help reduce your risk of diabetes since people with lower levels of DDE have significantly lower rates of diabetes. As most of these chemicals are more common in older homes, it generates an additional chemical burden for people living in poverty who typically reside in older dwellings. Families with reduced income are also more inclined to burn household garbage rather than pay for municipal trash removal services, thereby further increasing exposure to dioxin compounds. Another observation from the study was that the older the person, the higher the levels of chemicals. This should be expected as more exposure over time would increase the body burden of these chemicals.

Diabetes Care
Vol. 29(7): 1638-1644, July 2006
Duk-Hee Lee, MD, PhD
In-Kyu Lee, MD, PhD
Michael Steffes, MD, PhD
School of Medicine
Kyungpook National University, Korea
University of Minnesota, USA

Type-2 Diabetes in Animals Caused by Chemical DEHP

No reason for using the long name here, but the chemical called DEHP is one of the infamous chemicals known as phthalates (pronounced "thallates"). Researchers found DEHP was strongly linked to causing metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes. Your exposure comes from many sources including perfumes, plug-in air fresheners, lotions and other products. While some sources are difficult to avoid, there are still many things someone can do to dramatically reduce exposure. The problem with DEHP is that once it gets in your blood, it blocks the ability of your body to use insulin and glucose properly. To demonstrate this, scientists exposed mice to different concentrations of DEHP at levels of 25, 50 and 100 uM for 24 hours. At the end of the exposure, they measured how insulin and glucose were affected in the animals. Results showed that as levels of DEHP increased, the genes that control insulin attachment to the cell and glucose entry into the cell began to malfunction. In other words, as the levels of DEHP increased in the animals, the levels of glucose increased. In conclusion the researchers stated,

Taken together, our study supports the hypothesis that certain environmental chemicals such as DEHP can contribute to the development of diabetes/insulin resistance even at relatively low levels.
Human Experimental Toxicology
Vol. 33(7): 685-700, Oct 2014
Dept. of Endocrinology
University of Madras
Chennai, India

Diabetes Higher in Women Exposed to Cosmetic Chemical

Researchers at Harvard Medical School studied levels of a common cosmetic chemical in 2,350 women between the ages 20 and 79. The chemical, called phthalates (pronounced thallates), is used in most personal care products such as perfumes, body lotions, facial skin creams and also in plug-in air fresheners. These chemicals have been banned or restricted in Europe, but as of 2017, they were still being used in the U.S. In their opening sentence, the researchers stated, "previous studies have shown women have higher urinary concentrations of several phthalate metabolites than do men, possibly because of a higher use of personal care products."

To determine if this chemical was linked to diabetes, researchers compared the levels of phthalates in women with diabetes to those without diabetes. Results showed that women who had the highest 25% levels of this chemical had almost twice the rate of diabetes as women whose phthalate levels were in the lowest 25% group. It is also important to note that some of the phthalates were associated with insulin resistance among women who did not report a diagnosis of diabetes. Because insulin resistance often precedes type 2 diabetes, this finding suggests that some phthalates may affect type 2 diabetes risk by effects on insulin resistance. In addition, the authors stated they found other phthalate metabolites to be associated with an increased odds of diabetes, as well as fasting blood glucose levels and insulin resistance. Two additional points of interest were found in the study: Women with a larger waist circumference (more than 94.5 cm) had higher overall phthalate levels as women with a smaller waist circumference), thereby suggesting the chemical may increase the risk of obesity. Also, African Americans had about 90% higher levels of phthalates in their blood as whites. In conclusion the researchers stated,

These findings suggest that other phthalates might affect type 2 diabetes risk either through glucose dysregulation or insulin resistance. If future studies determine causal links between phthalates and diabetes, then reducing phthalate exposure could decrease the risk of diabetes among women.
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 120(9): 1307-1313, Sept, 2012
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Chemical Used in Fragrances & Cosmetics Causes Autoimmunity

Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the pancreas. The chemical phthalate (pronounced "thallate") is widely used in plastics, children's toys, polyester clothes and cosmetics (including perfumes, air-fresheners, skin creams and cosmetics). Scientists report here that exposure of mice to phthalates results in the formation of anti-self DNA antibodies. Phthalates are a class of chemicals known as benzene dicarboxylates. In conclusion, the scientists said their study was the first to demonstrate that exposure to phthalates results in production of autoreactive B-Cells.

Vol. 103(4): 482-492, December 2003
Dr. So-Yon Lim & Swapan K Ghosh
Dept of Life Sciences
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Indiana, USA

Fasting Blood Glucose Worsens by 6 Points from Fragrance Chemical

The chemical called phthalates (pronounced "thallates") is used as a thickener and solvent in most fragrances including perfumes, colognes and typical plug-in air fresheners. Researchers in this study wanted to investigate if phthalate levels in the blood could affect fasting blood glucose levels. To determine this, investigators from Harvard Medical School took blood samples from 3,083 non-diabetic individuals age 12 to 79 and measured for levels of phthalates. Results were then divided into four equal groups (quartiles) from lowest to highest levels of phthalates. This was done for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans. Scientists then compared the fasting blood glucose levels for those in the lowest 25% phthalate group with those in the highest 25% phthalate group. Results showed that for whites, people in the lowest phthalate group had about 2 points lower fasting blood glucose than those in the highest 25% phthalate group. Results for non-Hispanic blacks showed those in the lowest level phthalate group had about 3.5 points improved fasting blood glucose levels than those in the highest phthalate group. Mexican-Americans had the most dramatic difference showing those in the lowest phthalate group had a fasting blood glucose that was 5.8 points lower than those in the highest phthalate group.

CHEM-TOX COMMENT: Because of cultural practices, Mexicans and African Americans typically use more phthalates than whites. In one study, blacks were found to have a 90% higher level of phthalates than whites in general. This may be because of increased use of not only fragrances, but also lotions used for dry skin (which also contain phthalates). Also, Tthe differences in this study is only for quartiles. among quartiles. It would have been more beneficial to see how rates changed if divided into 5% or 10% groups for potentially identifying even greater differences. For example, whites having phthalate levels equal to that found in the highest Mexican-American quartile may have showed the same improvement, but because of cultural practices.

Enivronmental Health
Vol. 13(1): 6, Feb 2014
Dept of Medicine
Brigham & Women's Hospital
Harvard Medical School, USA

Insense Burning & Binchotan Charcoal

If you were alive and breathing back in the 60's and 70's you most likely remember that distinctive smell of burning incense at your house or in the hide-away room of your friends. Unfortunately, if you have diabetes or want to prevent future diabetes, it's time to put them out. When incense burns it produces a group of chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (herein called PAHs). Nearly a dozen different chemicals come under this category, but one of the worst is called benzo[a]pyrene. Unfortunately, the smoke slowly rising from the burning incense contains benzo[a]pyrene and is produced in higher amounts in incense because of the low burning temperature and incomplete combustion. The chemical is known to be a quite toxic and is well documented for causing mutations and cancer. The chemical is made of what is called benzene rings, and if you recall, a previous study in our report demonstrated that benzene ring chemicals could attach onto cells and trigger autoimmune reactions. These toxic PAH chemicals are not only found in incense, but also in car and diesel exhaust, cigarette smoke and asphalt used in road contstruction. The chemical also is produced from burning binchotan charcoal which is commonly used in Japan.

In this study out of Taiwan, scientists identified 16 different PAH chemicals in burning incense smoke and charcoal. They exposed immune system cells to increasing levels of PAHs and found as levels increased, the survival of the immune system cells known as macrophages decreased. While most exposures to PAH chemicals occurs outdoors, incense creates significant concern as it is typically done indoors with closed windows, thereby concentrating the chemical. In conclusion the researchers at Yuanpei University of Medical Technology stated,

The current findings indicate that incense particle-bound PAHs are biologically active and that burning an incense with a lower hydrogen to carbon ratio caused higher bioreactivity. The stimulatory effect of PAH-containing particles on molecular mechanisms of inflammation are critical for future study.
Environmental Pollution
Vol. 220(PtB): 1190-1198, Jan 2017
Dept. of Environmental Engineering & Health
Yuanpei University of Medical Technology

Charcoal Briquettes in Barbecuing

We hate to spoil the party, but it looks like people with diabetes should avoid exposure to smoke from cooking grills and especially from those using charcoal briquettes. The store bought briquettes are made by first burning a large amount of wood in a special week-long burning process. Once completed, the charred wood is crushed into pieces less than 1/8th of an inch (3mm) and added to a big paddle mixer, along with compounds used as a thickener and binding agents so they hold their shape when made into bricks. The chemical sodium nitrate (an ingredient in gunpowder) is also added to speed the lighting of the charcoal and as you recall, nitrates were found to increase the risk of diabetes in children in Iceland. The mixture is then put into the press to make the desired shape and placed onto a conveyor belt and sprayed with a hydrocarbon chemical solvent to give faster burning prior to bagging.

In a study done by University of Padua in Italy, researchers measured chemicals emitted from tobacco smoke, cooking grills, barbecues and fireplace smoke. The highest level of mutagenic chemicals came from burning charcoal and wood.

Mutation Research
Vol. 322(3): 193-202, Sept 1994
Institute of Occupational Health
University of Padua, Italy

High Blood Sugar Alone Can Cause Diabetes by Damaging Beta-Cells in Pancreas

We're all guilty of this one... Sometimes we go overboard and eat a lot more carbs and sugar than we should. For the men reading this, think of that time your girlfriend let you go a few months back. In the subsequent days (or minutes) after rejection, you may have chosen to down a gallon of Bryer's Vanilla along with a six-pack of those chocolate Doodles. Over the next hour, unbeknownst to you, your blood sugar went from 100 to 150 to 200 and up past 250. After flying in the stratosphere for 30-45 minutes, your pancreas finally regains consciousness and brings you back down to 130. While you may have noticed nothing in your time of turmoil, this most likely wasn't an event without consequences. Scientists are finding out that situations such as this can in fact be quite harmful to the beta-cells and cause what is called "Glucose Toxicity." This is actually what preceded my 12 year old son's diagnosis of diabetes while he drank a liter of Ginger Ale over a few hour period in hopes of alleviating the nausea he was experiencing.

In a study from the first study from the University of Washington Pacific Northwest Research Institute, scientists found that high levels of glucose in the blood can weaken and damage genes involved in insulin production. Since genes are the brains that control everything going on in the cell - this is certainly not a good thing - just like losing a girlfriend.

In another study from the University of Washington, scientists this time wanted to know if beta-cell insulin output was hurt more by short term high exposure to glucose or by moderate glucose levels over a longer period of time. To figure out this one, insulin producing beta-cells were cultured in test tubes containing different levels of glucose. First, they confirmed that higher glucose resulted in lower insulin output, but then if they were exposed to lower than normal levels of glucose, they showed a dramatic improvement in insulin output.

There are currently high profile medical websites stating unequivocally that there is nothing we can do to prevent type-1 diabetes, however, this study clearly shows that is not the case. In fact, if someone knows they have prediabetes (or getting close to it), they can in fact, do quite a bit to slow the development of the disease by simply making sure they buy only single serve ice cream instead of those gallon sizes when their relationship is a bit shakey.

Vol. 52(3): 581-587, March 2003
R. Paul Roberson (et al.)
Pacific Northwest Research Institute

How Phthalates Cause Type-2 Diabetes
Damage to Insulin Receptors and Glucose Transport Mechanisms

While we've described many studies linking phthalates with increased obesity and diabetes, the next question is why? How do these microscopic chemicals cause such chaos inside our bodies after hitching a ride in cosmetics, skin creams, colognes, plastic covered food - plastic water bottles and perfumes and plug-in air fresheners?

This 2017 study out of Anhui Medical University in China wanted to answer this question so researchers began by taking a group of adult male rats and dividing them into four groups. The first group was fed a typical diet while the other three groups were given foods containg different amounts of the phthalate chemical known as DEHP. Each group of rats given DEHP received a different dose of either .05, 5 or 500 mg/kg body weight. When results were in - the DEHP-exposed rats exhibited many more problems than those receiving regular food. They experienced significantly increased liver damage, glucose tolerance, and insulin tolerance along with reduced expression of insulin receptor and GLUT4 proteins in the liver tissues.

As a review, you may remember the insulin receptor is what lies on the outside of our muscle and body cells to "catch" insulin floating by in your blood. Once the insulin is locked onto the insulin receptor, the glucose door known as GLUT4 is given the signal to open, thereby allowing glucose to enter into the cell.

Results of the experiments with the liver and kidney cells showed that the phthalate known as DEHP activated what is known as a peroxisome proliferator. All you need to know here is that this resulted in another dominoe falling which started the production of compounds causing oxidative stress (free radicals) which then damaged and reduced the ability of the insulin receptor to work properly and also reduced the ability of what is called GLUT4 - which works to transport glucose into the cell. You could say the "doors" for insulin and glucose were only partially open on the cell surface after DEHP exposure. This is the first study we've seen that specifically shows how everyday DEHP exposure could potentially cause a major malfunction of our insulin and glucose doors on the cell.

Toxicology & Applied Pharmacology
Vol. 316: 17-26
Feb 1, 2017
Inst of Clinical Pharmacology
Anhui Medical University

Common Food Pesticide DDE Increases Diabetes

DDT is a pesticide that was banned in the U.S. in 1972, but is still used in agriculture settings in South America and in Africa for mosquito control. During the winter in the United States, upwards of 30% of produce is imported from South America and other countries is frequently found as a contaiminant in different food crops in grocery stores (i.e. lettuce). Along with DDT being used in foreign countries who send food crops back to the U.S., DDT is also a comtaminant in the U.S. pesticide dicofol (kelthane). So while DDT itself is banned in the U.S., it still can be applied to U.S. crops through the pesticide dicofol (especially cotton and citrus). Once DDT is applied, it forms the metabolite DDE. In this study, 619 sport fish consumers agreed to donate a blood sample in 1994-1995 and 209 participants donated again in 2001-2003. Health information was collected from each group. In total, 293 people from the original blood collection in 1994-95 provided a second sample for analysis in 2001-2005. Blood was tested for the pesticide DDE and PCB's. Participants who were without diagnosed diabetes in 1994-95 were followed for incident diabetes for an average of 8.4 years. Participants were then put into 3 groups of low, medium and high blood levels of DDE. Results showed a consistent dose-related association of DDE with incident diabetes. CHEM-TOX NOTE: We did a study in 1990's at the Florida Department of Agriculture in Tallahassee, Florida showing 19% of commercially grown lettuce tested in supermarkets contained the pesticide DDE. DDE is not found in significant amounts in organically grown produce.

Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 117(7): 1076-1082, July 2009
Mary Turyk, et al.
Division of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
School of Public Health
University of Illinois
Chicago, Illinois

The Chemical PCB in Older Homes Linked to Diabetes

PCB is the abbreviation for the chemical polychlorinated biphenyls. It was well known for its use as a coolant in electrical transformers commonly seen on neighborhood telephone polls prior to 1980. What is not commonly known is that It was also used as a thickening agent in some paints, floor varnishes and caulking used in home construction. Some homes and schools built before 1980 have been found to have high levels of PCB's - some of which had to be demolished because of PCB levels. A severe outbreak of PCB poisoning affected thousands of Taiwanese people in the late 1970's. In a 24 year follow-up, researchers studied 1,054 of these victims for rates of diabetes. After adjusting for factors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol intake and BMI, it was found that women who had been exposed to the higher levels of PCB's had diabetes rates 5.5 times higher than people not exposed to PCB's.

Diabetes Care
Vol. 31(8):1574-1579, August 2008
National Health Research Institutes,
Miaoli, Taiwan
Corresponding Author:
Dr. Yueliang Leon Guo

DIOXIN - PCB's and Pesticide DDT Strongly Linked to Diabetes

BACKGROUND: When testing the blood of people in most countries today - nearly everyone has measureable levels of the chemicals DIOXIN, PCB's and the pesticide DDT. Although PCB's and DDT have been banned in the U.S., higher blood levels of these chemicals can sometimes be found in people living in older homes built prior to 1990. DDT exposure can occur to people consuming foods imported from countries still using DDT (i.e. South America) and also from the pesticide Kelthane (which contains up to 5% DDT). Exposure to DIOXIN occurs from vehicle exhaust, burning of plastics, rubber and colored paper in trash and as an unintentional by-product in the manufacture of some pesticides used in agriculture and on lawns. In this study, conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina, researchers measured levels of these 3 chemicals in more than 1,800 people enrolled in the 1999-2002 National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey. Relationships of chemical exposure was then investigated for people with diagnosed diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes (HbA1c more than or equal to 6.1%) and total diabetes (diagnosed plus undiagnosed). Results showed that people with higher levels all three chemicals had significantly increased rates of diagnosed diabetes. In conclusion, the researchers stated,

These findings add to the list of chemicals found to be associated with diabetes in the 1999–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Environmental Research
Vol. 103(3): 413-418, March 2007
Dr. Charles J. Everett
Medical University of South Carolina

Pesticides in Indoor Air of Older Homes Linked to Diabetes

In a moment, you'll read how the pesticide chlordane is being linked to causing diabetes, however, before reading this, it is important to first understand that the majority of homes built before 1980 contain air levels of this banned pesticide. The problem even worse in homes built before 1979 when chlordane was used in routine indoor pest control. Unlike most pesticides today, chlordane does not break-down easily and continues to evaporate into the indoor air of older homes. The chemical heptachlor is commonly found as part of chlordane.

In a moment, you'll read how the pesticide chlordane is being linked to causing diabetes, however, before reading this, it is important to first understand that the majority of homes built before 1980 contain air levels of this banned pesticide. The problem even worse in homes built before 1979 when chlordane was used in routine indoor pest control. Unlike most pesticides today, chlordane does not break-down easily and continues to evaporate into the indoor air of older homes. The chemical heptachlor is commonly found as part of chlordane.

The associations of 8 pesticides and pesticide metabolites with total diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed) and pre-diabetes (glycohemoglobin 5.7–6.4%) were evaluated using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1999–2004. Six of the pesticides were found to be associated with total diabetes. These pesticides and pesticide metabolites were beta-hexachlorocyclohexane, p,p′-DDE, p,p′-DDT, oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor, and heptachlor epoxide. When the number of compounds elevated was tested, 4 or more, of the 6, elevated had an odds ratio of 4.99 (95% CI 1.97–12.61) compared to none elevated. When the 6 compounds were tested together in a single combined adjusted logistic regression only oxychlordane, a metabolite of chlordane, and heptachlor epoxide, a metabolite of heptachlor, were significantly associated with total diabetes. In the combined adjusted logistic regression, oxychlordane ≥ 14.5 ng/g lipid adjusted had an odds ratios of 1.90 (95% CI 1.09–3.32) compared to oxychlordane 14.5 ng/g lipid adjusted, and heptachlor epoxide ≥ 14.6 ng/g lipid adjusted had an odds ratio of 1.70 (95% CI 1.16–2.49) compared to heptachlor epoxide 14.6 ng/g lipid adjusted. Heptachlor epoxide and p,p′-DDT were significantly associated with pre-diabetes in separate adjusted logistic regressions. When these 2 compounds were tested together only heptachlor epoxide remained significantly associated with pre-diabetes. The evidence supporting the relationship between pesticides and pesticide metabolites, with diabetes, was strongest for heptachlor epoxide and oxychlordane, intermediate for p,p′-DDT, and least for beta-hexachlorocyclohexane, p,p′-DDE, and trans-nonachlor. Mirex and dieldrin were not associated with total diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Environmental International
Vol. 36(4):309-402, May 2010
Dr. Charles J Everett, Eric, M. Matheson
Medical University of South Carolina

Head Lice and Pet Pesticide Inceases Diabetes

The people of Saudi Arabia have one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world with over 30% of the adult population afflicted in 2010. With diabetes doubling every 12-15 years, along with the fact that their diabetes rates are already twice as high as the U.S., they are on an accelerated time-table for trying to figure this thing out. Unlike other pesticides that are typically applied away from the average person, pesticides used for lice are applied directly to a person's head and also applied to pets in shampoos and other forms as a flea and tick treatment. The extended time in treating a person or pet can expose the person running the operation to elevated levels of the chemical.

In this study, conducted at the College of Applied Medical Sciences in Saudi Arabia, researchers collected blood samples from 280 adults. About half had type-2 diabetes and the other half were healthy people without diabetes. Results were quite dramatic - Looking first at the 144 people without diabetes, it was found their average blood levels of the chemical was 3.8, while the average levels for those with diabetes was 8.8. To put this another way, the 136 people with diabetes had twice the amount of the chemical floating in their blood as the people who did not have diabetes.

It should be mentioned that the chemical Lindane was in the past used on farms and in lice and pet, flea and tick treatments. However, because of its high toxicity, many countries have banned it entirely. While it is banned in the U.S. for use on pets, seeds and farming, it is still used in many other countries and can still be used in the United States but only as a second alternative for head lice removal if the first methods fail.

Int. J Environ Research and Publich Health
Vol. 11(8984-8985), August 2014
College of Applied Medical Sciences
King Saud University
Saudi Arabia

Common Disinfectant & Weed Killer Linked to Diabetes

Dichlorophenol (DCP for short) is a chemical used in common weed killers and disinfectants used in hospitals, schools and homes. Exposure can also occur from drinking or showering with city water where chlorine is used for disinfection. To determine if the chemical was linked to diabetes, researchers at Mercer University Medical School in Macon, Georgia measured DCP levels in 560 adults with diabetes and 2,503 adults without diabetes. People were then divided into four equal groups from low to high depending on their level of DCP. After adjusting for age, weight, smoking and other factors, they found that people in the highest DCP group had a 59% higher rate of diabetes than those in the lower DCP group. They also found what is called a dose-response effect in that diabetes rates increased in four groups as DCP levels increased. the higher DCP group had significantly higher rates of insulin resistance. In conclusion, the scientists stated,

This study demonstrated a potential association between exposure to p-DCB, measured as urinary concentrations of 2,5-DCP, and diabetes in US adults.
J Exposure Sci Environ Epidemiology
Vol. 26(3): 329-333, May-Jun, 2016
Mercer University Medical School
Macon, Georgia, USA

Diabetes Higher in People Exposed to Chlorine Based Chemicals

Fascinating study in which 90 healthy non-diabetic young adults were followed for 23 years to to see who got diabetes later in life. Blood samples of the 90 individuals were tested in the mid-1980's (before beginning the study) for what is called "persistent organic pollutants" (We'll call it POP for short.) POPs are chemicals that typically do not break down easily and remain toxic for many decades. There were 55 different POP chemicals tested including organochlorine pesticides - chemicals used as flame retardants and chemicals known as PCB's. PCB's were used as a thickening agent in construction materials such as caulking, varnishes and paints in homes built in the 60's and 70's. In fact, organochlorine pesticides and PCB's are typically found at much higher concentrations in homes built before 1989 than homes built after this date. This is because some of the most toxic POPs were banned in 1980 and 1989. Results of this study found that people who had higher levels of organochlorine pesticides and PCB's in early adulthood had significantly decreased insulin sensitivity after they reached 40 years of age. In conclusion, the researchers stated,

Our findings suggest that impairments of glucose metabolism occur after decades of exposure to PCBs and organochlorine pesticides at background levels, independent of BMI and after participants reached the 5th decade of life.
Environmental Research
Vol. 137: 485-494, Feb 2015
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California
Department of Preventive Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Korea

30% Increase in Diabetes Close to Highways

People living closer than 330 feet (100m) from a major highway had more than a 30% higher risk of developing diabetes than people living more than 660 feet (200m). Researchers from a number of universities in Germany followed 3,607 individuals without diabetes in 2000-2003 in Germany for an average of 5.1 years and then compared rates of diabetes for the two groups.

Environmental Health
Vol. 14: 53, June 2015
Leibniz Research Institute for Env Med
Medical School, Einrich Heine University

Car Exhaust Chemicals Increase Type 2 Diabetes in Older Women

Another study linking chemicals in car exhaust with diabetes was found among women age 54 and older. In this German study, 1,775 elderly women who completed the study were measured for diabetes over a 16 period from 1990 to 2006. Researchers found that women with diabetes had increased exposure to air pollutants (primarily from vehicle traffic), For example, of the 1,588 women who did not have diabetes after 16 years, their exposure to the car exhaust compound nitrous oxide was 11.7 tons per year per square kilometer while those who did develop diabetes were exposed to nearly 13 tons per year. A similar patter was also seen for the tons per year of PM from vehicle traffic as well. In conclusion, the researchers stated,

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first prospective, population-based study that showed a statistically significant association between traffic-related air pollution and incident type 2 diabetes.
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 118(9): 1273-1279, Sep 2010
German Diabetes Center
Institute for Clinical Diabetology
Center for Diabetes Research
Heinrich Heine University
Dusseldorf, Germany

Moving from Low Traffic to High Traffic Area Reduces Beta-Cell Insulin Output

While other studies have shown that people living close to highways had higher rates of diabetes, in this study, scientists wanted to see if diabetes markers would change if people moved from a rural country setting to a higher traffic setting in a city environment. To test this, 25 healthy adults living in rural Michigan were transported to a city location for 5 consecutive days of daily 4-5 hour-long ambient air pollution exposures. All participants were given tests for insulin resistance 7 days prior to the start of the test, then again on the last exposure day and again 7 days after completion. The levels of the automobile pollutant known as fine particulate matter 2.5 was also measured at the homes of the participants and at the city testing sites. Results showed that moving to the higher traffic areas in the city did in fact significantly reduce insulin resistance and reduced beta cell function. For each 10 µg cubic meter increase in the particulate matter 2.5 resulted with an increased score of 0.7 on what is known as the homeostatsis model assessment of insulin resistance. In conclusion, the researchers stated:

Our findings suggest that ambient particulate matter 2.5, even at low levels, may reduce metabolic insulin sensitivity supporting the plausibility that air pollution could potentiate the development of DM (diabetes mellitus).
Science Total Environment
Vol. 15(448): 66-71, March 2013
Division of Cardovascular Medicine
University of Michigan, USA

General Air Pollution Worsens Metabolism in Children

Not only does car exhaust worsen symptoms of diabetes and glucose metabolism, but apparently, our general background levels of air pollution (coming primarily for coal and oil power plants) are contributing as well. In this study, scientists wanted to see how children's health was affected by general air pollution and traffic air pollution. had on 429 obese and overweight children in Los Angeles, California..but In conclusion the researchers stated,

"Elevated air pollution was associated with a metabolic profile that is characteristic of increased risk for type 2 diabetes. These results indicate that increased prior year exposure to air pollution may adversely affect type 2 diabetes-related pathophysiology in overweight and obese minority children."
Pediatric Obesity
December 6, 2016
Dept. of Public Health
California State Univ.

Exposure to any Pesticide Increases Diabetes by 61%

In a review of studies done on more than 80,000 individuals, it was found that exposure to any pesticide increases the risk of diabetes by nearly 61%. The lead author of the study, Dr. Fotinia Kavvoura, MD, PhD, presented this information at the 2015 annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). Dr. Kavvoura stated the study was done to understand what has been causing the exponential increase in type 2 diabetes in recent years. Along with these conclusions, it was also reported that women exposed to organic pollutants in early pregnancy had a fourfold increased risk of gestational diabetes compared with those who were not exposed to the chemicals. Organic pollutants include chemicals such as PCBs and are found in the air of older homes because of extensive use in caulking, floor varnishes and some paints.

Diabetes/Pre-Diabetes 11x Higher in Mosquito Control Applicators

Rates of diabetes and pre-diabetes were 11 times higher in 116 men employed as pesticide sprayers in public mosquito vector control programs in Bolivia. The rate of diabetes and prediabetes was 61% among men employed to spray pesticides and only 8% among 92 non-exposed controls of the same age. A dose-response relationship was also found showing that pesticide applicators reporting the highest number of hours spraying had diabetes and prediabetes rates 14x greater.

Journal of Agromedicine
Vol. 19(4): 417-26, 2014
Section for Env, Occup. & Health
Department of Public Health
Aarhus University
Aarhus, Denmark

Farm Pesticide Applicators Have Higher Rates of Diabetes

33,457 white males were enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study. Rates of diabetes were determined when beginning the study and again 5 years later in a follow-up interview. Workers reported types of pesticides used and how often. Seven pesticides were associated with increased risk of diabetes including aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, dichlorvos (Naled), trichlorfon, alachlor and cyanazine). The odds of getting diabetes increased with using the pesticide only once and became higher with cumulative days of use. For example, applicators with more than 100 lifetime day use of the pesticide aldrin had a 51% increase odds of diabetes - those using chlordane had a 63% increased risk - and those using heptachlor had a 94% increased risk of diabetes. Increased risk of diabetes was also seen among organophosphate pesticides such as the agriculture and mosquito control pesticide dichlorvos (a break-down product of Naled). We found that applicators exposed to dichlorvos had an increased odds of diabetes and that the odds increased with increasing cumulative days of use, although the test for trend was only moderately significant. Furthermore, the pesticide most strongly associated with diabetes among applicators was the organophosphate insecticide trichlorfon, which is converted to dichlorvos in mammals (see study).

American Journal of Epidemiology
Vol. 167(10): 1235-1246, March 2008
Dr. Dale P Sandler
Epidemiology Branch
National Institute of Env Health Science
P.O. Box12233
111 T.W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
[email protected]

Phenol Based Chemicals in Dish Soaps - Laundry Detergents Alter Estrogen in Body Critical for Normal Insulin Control

Many chemicals used in society are now being labeled as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC). These chemicals mimic important homones in the body (such as the female sex hormone estrogen) and have been found to reduce the effects of estrogen in the body. Scientists at the School of Publich Health at Tongji Medical College in China wanted to investigate if the class of of chemicals called phenolic estrogen pollutants (used in many consumer products) could affect pancreas islets and beta-cell function in rats. Chemicals tested were octylphenol, nonylphenol and bisphenol A (BPA). Nonylphenol is used used in laundry and dishwashing detergents, rubber, vinyl, personal care products and paints. Octyphenol is used in the making of fragrances, flame retardants, carbonless pape and as an additive in gasoline. BPA is used in common water bottles and readily leaches into the water. Results of this study showed all three chemicals weakened mitochondrial function in beta-cells and caused "remarkable" swelling of mitochondria and disruption of genes responsible for proper beta-cell function. Researchers stated that physiological levels of estrogen are involved in maintaining normal insulin sensitivity, but an excess of estrogen, such as from exposure to chemicals with estrogenic activity, would increase the risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes. The chemical BPA (used in plastic bottles and as a liner in canned food) had the lowest estrogenic activity of the four phenolic estrogens, but was able to significantly increase insulin release at a dose as low as 0.1 μg/l with 16.7 mM glucose stimulation, which means that BPA would affect insulin secretion within the environmental concentration range. These data suggest that BPA has more effect on disrupting insulin secretion and content in isolated beta-cells than those with higher estrogenic activity, which also indicates that the ability of the phenolic estrogens to disrupt insulin secretion is not positively correlated with their estrogenic activity.

Journal of Endocrinology
Vol. 215: 303-311, November 1, 2012
Key Laboratory of Environmental Health
School of Public Health
Tongji Medical College

Plastic Liner in Canned Food & Soda Increases Diabetes & Heart Disease

The next time you pop open a can of vegetables - take a peek at the metal inside. While you will see the metal, you won't see something that is worrying scientists. Over top of this metal interior is a plastic coating made from the chemical bisphenol-A (also called BPA). The problem is that BPA leaches out of the liner and into the food while the can sits on the shelf. When the canned food is eaten, you then swallow small amounts of this chemical with every bite. The problem is BPA is a professional copy-cat of other important hormones in your body and has the ability to change levels of natural hormones controlling critical processes in the body. To determine if so-called normal levels of BPA found in people can affect the risk of diabetes, researchers from the United Kingdom looked at urine concentrations of BPA in 1,455 adults aged 18 through 74. Once BPA levels were measured, they divided results into 4 equal groups from lowest to highest BPA levels. After taking into account the person's age, race, weight and many other variables, they found that people in the highest BPA group had more than twice as many people with diabetes as those in the lowest BPA group. A significant increase in heart attacks was also found in the higher BPA group as well. In conclusion the researchers stated:

Using data representative of the adult US population, we found that higher urinary concentrations of BPA were associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities.

BPA Changes Insulin Secretion

While the study above shows increased risk of diabetes with higher bisphenol-A (BPA) levels in the body, it is also important to find out why this might be happening. To briefly review how you get exposed to BPA, primary exposure comes from plastic liners in canned foods, aluminum soda and beer cans, food packaging, reusable water bottles (often marked with a #7 or "PC"), baby bottles, fast food, dental sealants applied to teeth and even cash register receipts. It is also used in computer circuit boards which, upon becoming warm, can emit the chemical into the air.

In this study, conducted at McMaster University in Canada, researchers tested six different chemicals for their ability to alter insulin secretion. Results showed only BPA directly affected insulin secretion. In conclusion, the researchers stated:

These data suggest that long-term BPA exposure may be detrimental to beta cell function and ultimately be an important contributor to the etiology (cause) of Type 2 Diabetes.

Another Way BPA Can Cause Diabetes - Autoimmunity

While type-1 diabetes was originally believed to be the type associated with autoimmunity, newer studies show type 2 diabetes is also affected by autoimmunity (although affecting different cells in the body). As you should know by now - an autoimmune reaction is when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the body. As the chemical BPA has been linked with increasing diabetes and affecting insulin output, researchers at Bastyr University in San Diego, investigated the current state of research on BPA and autoimmunity. They stated that many known autoimmune triggering mechanisms have been correlated with BPA including disruption of liver enzymes, macrophage activation (a type of white blood cell) and others.

Canned Food - Plastic Bottles - BPA Damages Critical Organ Protecting Us from Diabetes: Potential for Increased Child Diabetes & Autoimmunity

Type-1 diabetes is growing faster in children under age 5 than any other age group. This means more children will suffer from the debilitating effects of diabetes and for a longer duration of their lives. Finding out the reasons for this increase is certainly of great importance for us and our children. A number of studies have been done (including ones discussed previously) linking the common chemical BPA with the increasing rates of diabetes. Along with the primary exposure sources of BPA (canned food & drinks), the chemical is also used in plastic baby bottles and leaches out faster when heated (as is often done with baby bottles). This gives a greater likelihood of increased BPA exposure in most children in society today. It's important to understand that your thymus gland is your body's first defense for removing autoimmune cells than can cause diabetes (even type-2 diabetes has now been linked with autoimmunity). Also, a number of modern chemicals have now been found to weaken the ability of your thymus to remove autoimmune cells. To determine if BPA could also affect development of the thymus, researchers divided 30 chick embryos into three groups of ten eggs each. On fertilization day 9, one group was injected with low levels of BPA (250 micrograms per egg), another group of eggs with a saline solution and the third group with corn oil. Thymuses were collected on day 22 and weighed. They were then looked at using a light microscope for any signs of damage. Results showed that the thickness of the thymus cortex and medulla was significantly reduced (showing damage to the thymus). Further investigations with an electron microscope showed that the lymphatic follicles and eptihelial cells of the embryos were damaged in the BPA group, but not the others. In conclusion, the researchers stated:

Our study confirms a direct toxicity of BPA at a very low-dose level on the development of the central immune organs of SPF chick embryos.

BPA Mimics Hormone Estrogen Disrupts Pancreas Beta-Cell Function

The common chemical BPA is believed to mimic the hormone estrogen. In other words, BPA fools the body into thinking it is the hormone estrogen. This chemical masquerade can have very serious consequences in any person with the potential for causing many ill effects.

In this current study, scientists wanted to compare how both BPA and estrogen could affect insulin output. They began by exposing adult mice to a single low dose of the estrogen compound estradiol. This resulted in a rapid rise in insulin and immediate decrease in glucose. Scientists then continued the experiment by giving daily low dose exposures to different groups of mice with either BPA or estradiol. After 4 days of treament, both the BPA and estrogen treated mice developed chronic high glucose as well as abnormal results on both glucose and insulin tolerance tests. In conclusion the scientists stated,

These experiments unveil the link between environmental estrogens and insulin resistance. Therefore, either abnormal levels of endogenous estrogens or environmental estrogen exposure enhances the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.
JAMA (Journal of American Med. Assoc.)
Vol. 300(1): 1303-1310, Sep 2008
Epidemiology & Public Health
Peninsula Medical School
United Kingdon


International Journal of Toxicology
Vol. 30(4): 410-418, August 2011
Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynecology
McMaster University
Ontario, Canada


Autoimmune Diseases
Vol. 2014 (2014), April 2014
Division of Sciences
Bastyr University
San Diego, CA, USA


Toxicology Industrial Health
Vol 30(3): 199-205, July 2012
Dept. of Veterinary Pathology
China Agricultural University
Beijing, China


Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol 114(1): 106-112, Sep 2005
University Miguel Hernandez de Elche
Alicante, Spain

People with Type 2 Diabetes Have 6x Higher BPA Levels

This study suggests the chemical BPA used in canned food liners and plastic bottles is a strong contributor to diabetes. In an effort to determine the significance of BPA in diabetes, researchers took urine samples from 119 people with type-2 diabetes and 120 people of similar age and weight who did not have diabetes. Urine samples from each group were measured for the chemical BPA and an average was then calculated for each group. Results showed that the 119 people with type-2 diabetes had an average BPA level of 2.9 micrograms per liter, while the 119 people without diabetes had an average BPA level of only 0.5 ug/l. In other words, people with type-2 diabetes had 6 times more of this chemical in their blood than people who did not have diabetes. This certainly raises the question of whether avoiding BPA (by not eating canned food) could help in either preventing diabetes or if avoiding cannned food could improve blood sugar control of people who already have diabetes.

Cigarette Smoke Increases Insulin Resistance Worsens Diabetes

This study included 34 patients who quit smoking and were followed for 1 year and continued not to smoke during the 1 year. 7 subjects had type-1 diabetes and 27 had type 2 diabetes. Mean Hba1c was 7.7 while smoking and 7.0 after stopping smoking.

Diabetes Care
Vol. 25(4): 796-797, April 2002

Second Hand Smoking Increases Diabetes in Children & Adults

Women with at least one parent who smoked cigaretes had an 18% higher rate of type 2 diabetes than women whose parents did not smoke. When looking at adults exposed to cigarette smoke from their spouse, the increased risk of diabetes was 36%. This study was done with 37,343 French women who never smoked but who reported that one of their parents did smoke.

Diabetes Care
Vol. 36(9): 2720-2725, Sept 2013
National Institute of Public Health
Mexico City, Mexico
Harvard School of Public Health
Boston, Massachusetts

Smoking More = Higher Rates of Diabetes
Quitting Reduces Risk of Diabetes

Of those smoking more than 2 packs per day, men had a 45% higher rate of diabetes and women had a 74% higher rate. Quitting smoking reduced the rate of diabetes to that of non-smokiers after 5 years in women and after 10 years in men. Researchers went on to state that a dose-response relationship seems likely between smoking and the incidence of diabetes. Smokers who quit may derive substantial benefit from doing so.

International Journal of Epidemiology
Vol. 30(3):540-546, 2001
Centers for Disease Control
Atlanta, GA, USA

Lack of Breast Feeding and Cow's Milk Linked to Diabetes

A number of studies suggest that children who are breast fed for shorter periods of time have higher rates of diabetes. Along with this, research has been conducted which shows evidence of an immune defect in children may be triggered by exposure to a protenin found in cow's milk. This has raised concerns about the recommendation of feeding cow's milk based products to young children. To determine if lack of breast feeding and cow's milk could raise the risk of diabetes, researchers in Canada studied who were breast fed for less than 3 months and reported on their diabetes rates when older. If children were also exposed to cow's milk before 4 months they had a 63% increase risk of diabetes.

Diabetes Care
Vol. 17(1): 13-19, Jan 1994
Dept. of Medicine
McMaster University
Ontario, Canada

The Lancet
Vol. 321(8411): 1083-1086, Nov 1984

Cancer Treatments Increase Diabetes and other Illnesses

The chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide is known to cause diabetes in test animals. In fact, it is sometimes used to induce diabetes in animal studies. In this study, researchers wanted to find out if people treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation experienced higher rates of other illnesses after 5 years. A total of 14,290 patients from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study participated in the project. The median age of the group was 6 years. Results showed that children exposed to "high risk" therapies (cyclophsphamide of 20/g/m(2) had nearly twice the rates of diabetes and twice the rates of obesity. Growth hormone deficiency was 5 times higher and thyroid cancer 9 times higher, Women had a six-fold increase in problems with their ovaries and men had higher rates of testosterone replacement.

Journal Clinical Oncology
vol. 34(27): 3240-32407, Sep 2016
University of Pennsylvania
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Ctr
St. Jude Children's Research Hosp

Higher Cancer Rates for People with Diabetes
Is it the Diabetes or Insulin?

While its openly discussed that people with diabetes have higher rates of diseases affecting the kidneys and vision, it is much less known that people with diabetes have higher rates of a number of cancers. For example, as reported in the introduction of the journal Diabetologia, studies have shown that people with diabetes had a 30% higher rate of colorectal cancer - a 24% higher bladder cancer - and a 20% higher rates of breast cancer. To address this growing health problem, the American Diabetes Association and American Cancer Society came together to hold a conference in December of 2009. As stated in their report, diabetes has been shown to nearly double the risk for cancers of the liver, pancreas and endometrium and increases the risk for cancers of the colon, rectum, breast and bladder by 20-50%. Along with increased risk of these cancers, some studies show that once cancer is diagnosed, people with diabetes have considerably less chance of surviving 5 years than those who do not have diabetes. For example, in one study, 5-year death rates were about 40% higher in diabetes patients diagnosed with both breast cancer than comparable breast cancer patients without diabetes (see study). This report also stated that something besides high blood sugar is driving the higher cancer rates as studies of type-1 diabetes do not find high blood sugar increases cancer growth (see study).

CHEM-TOX COMMENT: It's interesting to note that diabetics have been found to be less likely to survive 5 years after cancer diagnosis. Other studies on other populations shows people with lower levels of lymphoctyes (which include natural killer cells) are less likely to experience remission from cancer. Also, recent studies show that patients with type 2 diabetes often have a combination of type-1 as well, thereby suggesting an autoimmune intereaction is possible which could increase soft tissue damage in various organs, thereby increasing cancer risk as well.

Diabetes Care
Vol 33(7): 1674-1685, July 2010
Dept. of Epidemiology
Harvard School of Public Health
Boston, Massachusetts, USG

Insulin Appears to Increase Cancer Risk

It is well documented that people with diabetes have significantly higher rates of cancer than the general population. To investigate if taking insulin could be involved with this increased risk, researchers in Germany studied 127,031 diabetic patients taking different types of insulin and followed their medical history for up to 4.4 years. Patient groups included those treated exclusively with either human insulin, aspart insulin, lispro insuline or glargine insuline (Lantus). Unlike other similar studies, patients involved in this study were taking only one type of insulin. Results showed there was no increased risk of cancer for those taking aspart or lispro insulin compared with human insulin. However, a dose dependent increased risk of cancer was found for those using glargine insulin (Lantus). For example, those taking a daily dose of 10 IU of Lantus had approximately 10% increased risk of cancer - those taking 30 IU had a 19% increased risk of cancer - those taking 50 IU had a 31% increased risk of cancer. In conclusion, the researchers stated,

Considering the overall relationship between insulin dose and cancer, and the lower dose with glargine [Lantus], the cancer incidence with glargine was higher than expected compared with human insulin. Our results based on observational data support safety concerns surrounding the mitogenic properties of glargine in diabetic patients. Prospective long-term studies are needed to further evaluate the safety of insulin analogues, especially glargine.
Vol 52(9): 1732-1744, Sep 2009
Hanover Medical School, German
University of Cologne, Germany

Problems with Chemical Based Insulin?
Increases Colon & Rectal Cancer in Diabetics

This study was conducted to determine if insulin therapy would increase the risk of colorectal cancer among people with type-2 diabetes. All type-2 diabetic patients in the General Practice Research Database from the United Kingdom were included in the study. This included 3,160 patients using insulin and 21,758 patients not using insulin. Results showed that those not using insulin had a colorectal cancer rate of 124 per 100,000 years while those using insulin had a colorectal cancer rate of 197 per 100,000 person years. Initially, this shows over a 50% increase rate of cancer for those taking insulin. After adjusting for age, sex and other factors, the postive association strengthened further suggesting nearly twice the risk of developing colorectal cancer. A dose-response effect was also seen resultig in a higher cancer rate for each year of insulin use. In conclusion, the researchers stated,

"Chronic insulin therapy significantly increases the risk of colorectal cancer among type 2 diabetes mellitus patients."
Vol. 127(4): 1044-50, Oct 2004
Division of Gastroenterology
Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Philadelphia, USA

Water & Bathroom Disinfectant Increases Diabetes Nearly 60%

The boys will understand this one - at the bottom of most wall mounted urinals will be a pink soap sized bar. This consists of a disinfectant made from the chemical dichlorobenzene. Most people do not know this, but urine contains uric acid which is a strong disinfectant in itself, which makes the bar of dichlorophenol pretty much unnecessary, except for the psychological impact. The main problem with dichlorbenzene is that it forms into a chemical known as dichlorophenol inside the human body and dichlorophenol was found to increase the risk of diabetes 60%.

In a biomonitoriing summary from the CDC website, dichlorophenol has been detected in the air of households, bathrooms, new buildings, and in exhaled breath of people living in homes with deodorizers or moth crystals. It is also formed from waste water treatment, wood pulp processing with chlorine, and burning of wood, coal and city trash. People also receive a signficant dose of dichlorophenol from drinking chlorinated tap water or from the air while taking a shower or bath..

The diabetes link was found by researchers at the Mercer University School of Medicine while investigating urine samples from 3,063 randomly selected adults age 20 to 79 years. Of this group 13.6% (560) were diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers then divided the 3,063 participants into four groups called quartiles. The people in the lowest quartile had the lowest 25% of the chemical and those in the highest quartile had the highest urine levels of dichlorophenol. Average dichlorophenol levels were 7.0 ug per liter and ranged from 2.1 to 29.9 among the quartiles. After taking into cosideration age, weight, race and other factors, people in the highest dichlorophenol group had a 59% increased rate of diabetes compared to those in the lowest dichlorophenol group. Researchers also found the chemical was positively associated with insulin resistance as well.

Journal Exposure Science Environment Epidemiology
Vol. 26(3): 329-333, May-Jun 2016
Mercer Univ School of Medicein, Macon GA
Dept of Mathematics & Comp Sci, Fort Vally State University.

Some Antibiotics May Lead to Severe Blood Sugar Swings

To determine if antibiotic use could affect blood sugar levels, researchers investigated antibiotic use and hospitalizations among 78,000 people with diabetes in Taiwan. Antibiotic categories included the three classes: fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins and macrolides. Doctors then looked at emergency room visits and hospitalizations for severe blood sugar swings among the patients in the 30 days after they started taking antibiotics. The rate of severely high blood sugar was about 7.0 per 1,000 for people taking the antibiotic moxifloxacin, 3.9 for levofloxacin and 4.0 for ciprofloxacin. Rates were only 1.6 for those taking macrolide antibiotics and 2.1 for cephalosporins. Very low blood sugar was also found to occur - patients taking moxifloxacin had a rate of 10 per 1000. In conclusion the researchers stated,

Diabetics using oral fluoroquinolones faced greater risk of severe dysglycemia. The risk of hypoglycemia varied according to the type of fluoroquinolone administered, and was most commonly associated with moxifloxacin.
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Vol. 57(7): 971-980, August 2013

Living Near Toxic Waste Sites Increase Risk of Diabetes

In this study done by the University of Albany, New York, researchers investgated diabetes rates for people living near toxic waste sites in New York and along the Hudson River. Toxic waste sites expose people living in the area to higher levels of chemicals either through evaporation into the air or through leaching into ground water and subsequent drinking of the water. All hospitals in the state of New York are required by law to report every diagnosis of diabetes upon discharge. To increase accuracy of results, reseachers reported only on Caucasians and African Americans with incomes between $31,107 and $51,482. Hazardous waste sites were identified in New York from information from the U.S. EPA and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. A total of 818 sites (and Superfund sites) were identified as a potential threat to human health. Researchers then took the zip codes people diagnosed with diabetes and matched these to zip codes of toxic waste site. Compared to people living in clean zip code areas, people living closer to Toxic Waste Sites had an overall 23% increase rate of diabetes rates. For people living near toxic waste sites along the Hudson River had a 36% increased rate of diabetes. Chemicals frequently emitted from toxic waste sites include PCBs and dioxin, both of which have been shown to increase risk of diabetes.

Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 115(1): 75-79, Jan 2007
School of Public Health &
Institute for Health & Environment
University of Albany, New York, USA

Adding Fluoride to Water Increases Rate of Diabetes

Researchers hypothesized that water fluoridation was contributing to the quadrupling of diabetes over the past 32 years in the United States. Fluoride is sometimes found naturally in groundwater in the form of calcium fluoride, however, the type added to city water supplies comes in the form of fluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride. Fluorosilicic aced is the type formed as a by-product of making chemical fertilizers. To test their diabetes/fluoride theory, researchers measured levels of natural and added fluoride to water supplies in counties across 22 states in the U.S. Their study also took into account the amount of water used in the counties as well. Results showed that a 1mg increase in the county fluoride level significantly predicts a 0.23 per 1000 person increase in age-adjusted diabetes incidence and a 0.17% increase in the percent of people with diabetes. In conclusion, the researchers stated, "Community water fluoridation is associated with epidemiological outcomes for diabetes."

Journal of Water & Health
Vol. 14(5): 864-877, October 2016
Inst. of Health & Eviron Research, Ohio
Dept of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Case Western Reserve University
School of Medicine
Cleveland, OH, USA

Fluoride Reduces Insulin Production

Researchers administered fluoride to both animals and humans in this study to investigate changees in glucose and insuliln production. Rats were given a single dose of 0.5 ml/100 grams body weight of a sodium fluoride solution through an inserted gastric tube. Glucose tolerance tests were carried out.

Calcified Tissue International
Vol. 46: 330-338, 1990

Evidence Glucose Metabolism Affected by Fluoride

Forty 7 week old male rats were given a single injection of sodium fluoride and compared to a control group of rats not given sodium fluoride. Over the next 30 minutes - glucose levels were measured. Results showed that rats receiving fluoride had significantly higher glucose levels of approximately 115 mg/dl compared to approximately non-fluoride rats whose gluocse levels were approximately 85. This study can be seen HERE. In this next study done in Argentina, researchers give a single sodium fluoride dose of While the previous study mesured glucose levels from a single dose of sodium fluoride, this next study investigated glucose levels after continuous daily oral administration of sodium fluoride and monofluorophosphate over 3 months.

Nitrates in Water, Food and Chemical Fertilizers

If nitrates in your hotdogs and mutton wasn't enough to spoil your day, you'll be quite displeased to find that nitrates in your drinking water is also being linked to increasing your chance of getting diabetes. Today's commercial farming practices typically rely on liquid water soluable sources of nitrogen as a fast and easy way to get nitrogen into the soil to grow green leafy plants. Homeowners also apply water soluble nitrogen fertilizers to keep lawns looking prettier than their neighbors. Unfortunately, this highly soluble form of nitrogen increases potential for run-off into nearby streams and rivers and also through the ground and into the water table. Since drinking water is showing increased levels of nitrates, researchers at the University of Leeds wanted to find out if this affected rates of diabetes. The study was done by determining nitrate levels in water for 148 supply zones in Yorkshire England. Results showed that the zones with higher rates of nitrates had higher rates of diabetes after taking into account race, age, weight and other factors.

It should be noted that studies of nitrates in water and diabetes are more controversial than other diabetes promoting chemicals. It should be mentioned that while these studies listed did find a connection between nitrates in water and diabetes, many other studies have failed to do so. This battle is bound to continue and it should be noted that income generated from fertilizer production and sales of nitrate fertilizer for use on farms and residential lawns is enormous. It is recommended that when evaluating these studies you also consider funding sources and any potential conflicts of interest.

A review of over a dozen studies on this topic was published in the October 2016, World Journal of Diabetes.

Carpets Emit Chemicals Linked to Diabetes

Anyone who has entered a home or apartment with new carpets less than 3-6 months old will often bit hit by a very strong chemical odor. This odor is courtesy of dozens of different chemicals evaporating into the air from the fibers and carpet backing. Unlike wool carpets of many decades ago, modern carpets are made from dozens of petroleum based chemicals. The backing that holds the fibers are typically made from the chemicals styrene, butadiene and many other chemicals including one known as 4-Phenylcyclohexene (which we'll call 4-PCH from here on). According to a 2002 report from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 4-PCH is one of the 12 most frequently found chemicals entering the air from carpets with styrene-butadiene rubber backing. These chemicals are considered volatile, meaning they evaporate into the enclosed air space easily. For example, air concentrations measured in buildings after new carpet installation ranged from 0.3 to 2.6 parts per billion (2ug/m3 to 17 ug/m3).

Not only do carpets emit dozens of chemicals into the indoor air, but a number of these chemicals react with ozone to form new toxic chemicals. Ozone itself forms from car exhaust so is constantly around us. Researchers found that 4-PCH and other carpet chemicals react with ozone at levels often found in indoor air to produce formaldehyde and other chemicals known as aldehydes.

As we reported earlier that styrene has been linked with diabetes and that formaldehyde results in antibodies that can increase diabetes, anyone who wishes to decrease their risk of diabetes or worsening the condition should certainly avoid new carpeting if possible.

Review of Toxicological Literature

National Institute of Env. Health Sciences
Research Triangle Park, NC
July 2002

Gasoline Additive Linked to Higher Fasting Glucose

The chemical known as MTBE is added to gasoline as an octane booster and to increase oxygen in gasoline used in gasoline engines. People breathe this chemical daily while filling their gas tank and while driving in traffic. Researchers hypothesized that MTBE could hinder zinc and normal glucose levels in rats. To test this theory, 42 male rats were divided into seven groups with 6 rats per group. Groups were exposed to different levels of MTBE and groups 6 and 7 also received zinc acetate. Animals received MTBE in drinking water for a total of 90 days. At the end of treatment their pancreas and blood samples were collected for examination. Results showed that animals exposed to MTBE had a significant increase in fasting blood glucose and total cholesterol which was observed in a dose-dependent manner. It also increased C-reactive protein, which is evidence of inflammation and autoimmunity. MTBE was also found to significantly decrease zinc levels. Zinc is an essential element required for maintatining normal glucose levels. It has also been reported that low serum zinc concentrations are evident in the early phases of type-1 diabetes.

Vol. 1-6, July 7, 2016
Dept. of Pharmacology & Toxicology
University of Medical Sciences, Iran

Vol. 40(5): 550-556, May 1997
Center for Health Services Research
University of Leeds, UK

World Journal of Diabetes
Vol. 7(18): 433-440, Oct 15, 2016
Shahid Beheshti University
Tehran, Iran

Hair Dyes Possible Suspect in Autoimmunity

The hair dye ingredient known as p-phenylenediamine (PPD) is used as a dye for dark hair color shades and is made from coal tar. Coal tar includes chemicals such as benzene and phenols (discussed earlier). In this study conducted by the University of Copenhagen, researchers found that hair dye strongly affects the immune system of mice treated in a "consumer-like" manner. Exposure resulted in immune system T-cell proliferation and production of inteferon-y and interleukin-17 within the lymph nodes. There was also an upgregulation of regulatory T cells and interleukin-10 producing cells. In conclusion the researchers stated, also raises the question whether the immune modulatory effects of hair dyes might influence the development of autoimmune diseases and cancers.
British Journal of Dermatology
Vol. 163(5), Nov 2010
Dept. of Int. Health, Immunol & Microb
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

J Vet Internal Medicine
December 1, 2016
Dept of Clinical Sciences
Swedish Univ of Agricultural Sciences
Uppsala University
Uppsala, Sweden

Insulin Resistance Higher from Consumer Products Containing 3 Chemicals

Researchers studied 110 male workers who worked around 3 chemicals known as monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (called MAHs). This inlcudes the chemicals styrene, toluene and xylene. These chemicals are frequently used in industry. For example, the chemical styrene is used to make fiberglass boats, surfboards, and many plastics. It is also found in car exhaust - in print shops and in styrene-butadiene rubber products in carpeting and auto tires. Many consumer products contain styrene including shoes, food containers, floor tiles, polishes, adhesives, putties and varnishes (see research). People are exposed to toluene by breathing car exhaust, pumping gasoline, using lawn mowers and weed eaters and also in kerosene lamps and paints. Fingernalil polish also contains high levels of toluene and is often applied in areas of low ventilation in homes and bedrooms, thereby concentrating the chemical. One large source of styrene would be in homes and apartments with newer carpets and is of concern because of the reduced ventilation and continuous exposure. Since these chemicals are used throughout society, researchers wanted to determine if they could increase health problems associated with diabetes. Researchers compared 110 male workers who worked around these chemicals with 110 age-matched male workers who had not been exposed to major sources of organic solvents. Results showed that total cholesterol, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance levels were significantly higher in those exposed to these 3 chemicals. In conclusion the reseachers stated,

This study indicated that MAHs (the 3 chemicals) increase fasting glucose level and insulin resistance. Furthermore, these results suggested that absorbing the organic solvent itself and active metabolic intermediates can increase oxidative stress and cytokine levels, resulting in the changes in glucose metabolism and the induction of insulin resistance.
Safety Health Work
Vol. 2(4): 365-74, Dec 2011
Occup. Safety & Health Res. Institute
Korea Occup. Safety & Health Agency Incheon, Korea

Clothing Chemicals & Diabetes Linked

When you buy your next shirt at your local department store you may want to read the label. It will tell you if its made from cotton - polyester - nylon or something else. Polyester and nylon are both petroleum chemicals based fabrics, they are basicallly finely spun pieces of plastic sewn together. The problem, to make the fibers bend, the chemical class of phthalates must be added to the mix. Chemicals from these materials are able to enter the body by inhalation since they are in close proximity to your breathing zone and also on areas where the material contacts the skin. To see what kind of a problem we were dealing with, researchers at the University of Debrecen in Hungary took 15 different clothing items and had them tested for more than 40 different types of known hazardous chemicals. Results showed the most commonly detected hazardous substances were nonylphenol ethoxylates, phthalates, amines released by azo dyes, and quinoline derivates. They were also able to detect the nonylphenol chemicals on the skin of a person wearing a clothing item that tested positive for nonylphenol. As polyester and nylon fabric would need to be softened by phthalates, it would be interesting to get more information of comparisons between clothes made of cotton fabrics and those made from polyester or nylon.

Anals Bioanalytic Chemistry
408(19): 5189-98, July 2016

Vinyl Flooring - Diabetes & Developmental Delays

Walk into a school or daycare and the floors all look pretty much the same. The one foot wide tight fighting tiles reach from one end of the building to the other. These are not ceramic tiles but are typically made from vinyl, a type of plastic. They are easy to put down, inexpensive and resist spills in a child high spill environment. The problem, can't be hard or they would break, so during manufacture, two types of phthalates are added to make them softer. Unfortunately, these chemicals gradually evaporate into the air which is inhaled by children and teachers - day after day after day. The chemical has been shown to concentrate on dust, and after touching all kinds of things in a child's world, the fingers usually end up in their mouths at one time or another - further increasing exposure. Floorings in homes can also be made with similar type materials.

Along with previous studies showing phthalates increase risk for birth defects and diabetes, the chemical was also found to increase develomental delays in children. Researchers looking for connections between phthalates and brain function investigated the air of homes of children with autism and developmental delays and published their results in the June 26, 2015 issue of Environmental Health. While no increase in autism with found, they did find an interesting pattern: Homes that had higher levels of a phthalate known as DEHP had twice as many children with developmental delays as those in homes with the lowest levels of DEHP.

In another study done with 239 New York City school children, researchers wanted to find out exactly what types of phthalates and how much was coming out off the floors and into the air. To do this, they went into the homes of 239 children and conducted a 2 week indoor air sample of rooms with different types of flooring. Results showed that children whose bedrooms had vinyl or linoleum floors had more than twice the level of a phthalate known as BBzP than rooms with wood flooring or carpeting. Levels averaged 23.9 ng per cubic meter for the vinyl floor rooms compared to 10.6 for non-vinyl floors. This is of concern as the exposure would be continuous while the child sleeps or plays in the room.

Journal of Science & Environmental Epidemiology
Vol. 25(6): 574-579, Nov-Dec, 2015
Harvard School of Public Health

Cause of Type-2 Diabetes:
Mitochondria Dysfunction & Free Radicals

While the previous research provides strong support for environmental factors causing autoimmunity and type-1 diabetes, it is important to discuss type-2 diabetes since more and more children are showing evidence of having both types simultaneously (called type 1.5). The causes of type-2 diabetes have been a little more difficult to pin down. Researchers are just beginning to understand how mechanisms fail within the cell and how beta-cells become damaged and how insulin resistance appears in type-2 diabetes.

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine completed a detailed review of dozens of journal publications on this topic and the consensus is that mitochondria failure is one of the main players in type-2 diabetes. You may recall from high school biology that mitochondria are located all throughout the inside of the cell - sometimes reaching thousands inside just one cell. They work to provide energy necessary for the cell to function. Below are the main findings of their report:

1. Reductions in both beta-cell mass and function contribute to the cause of beta-cell failure in human type-2 diabetes
2. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a central contributor to beta-cell failure in type-2 diabetes.
3. Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by residual beta-cells is impaired in type-2 diabetes.
4. Islets from type-2 subjects exhibit both structural and functional abnormalities 
5. Mitochondria in type-2 diabetes beta-cells exhibit both appearance and functional abnormalities that are not observed in control beta-cells 
6. The decreased beta-cell volume observed in subjects with fasting hyperglycemia is associated with increased beta-cell death by apoptosis [6]
7. Production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) (otherwise known as free-radicals) induced by metabolic stress represents a common pathway of injury in the cascade of events that ultimately results in β-cell failure [32127]
8. Oxidative stress can arise from various sources [35], and ROS appear to be produced in larger amounts by islets from type-2 diabetic patients than by those from nondiabetic subjects
9. Reactive Oxygen Species can injure mitochondria by promoting DNA fragmentation, protein crosslinking, and peroxidation of membrane phospholipids and by activating a series of stress pathways [29].
10. Beta-cell mitochondria in islets from type-2 diabetic subjects have been found to exhibit abnormalities in appearance that include hypertrophy (larger than normal size), a rounded rather than elliptical shape, and higher density compared to beta-cell mitochondria in islets from control subjects [1142]
11. The onset of type-2 diabetes is accompanied by a progressive decrease in beta-cell mass that results from a marked increase in β-cell apoptosis (cell death) [6743]

In summary, the researchers commented on methods that could reduce and prevent type-2 diabetes. These focus on reducing free radical damage to the cell.

Interventions that attenuate (reduce) ROS (free radical) effects on beta-cell mitochondrial phospholipids might prevent or retard development of type-2 diabetes mellitus.
Experimental Diabetes Research
Vol. 2012: Article ID 703538
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