London, Jan 26 : Environmental pollution and type 2 diabetes might be linked, say Cambridge scientists.
The study, conducted by Oliver Jones and Julian Griffin, demonstrated a very strong relationship between the levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs, a group which includes many pesticides) in blood, particularly organochlorine compounds, and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
"Of course correlation does not automatically imply causation. But if there is indeed a link, the health implications could be tremendous. At present there is very limited information. Research into adult onset diabetes currently focuses on genetics and obesity; there has been almost no consideration for the possible influence of environmental factors such as pollution," the Lancet quoted Jones, as saying.
In the study, it was found that individuals were more at risk of diabetes if they were thin with high levels of POPs in their blood than if they were overweight but with low levels of POPs.
Jones said: "I think research should be carried out to first test the hypothesis that POPs exposure can cause diabetes, perhaps using cell or tissue cultures, so we know for sure if this can occur. Assuming POPs can have this effect, the next step would be to try and develop a method of treatment for those people who might be affected."
The study is published in the journal Lancet.