Air pollution contributes to diabetes

04 July, 2018, 16:02 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Study: Even low pollution levels can pose health risk — (Details)

As for time lost to diabetes, that is about a cumulative 8.2 million "years of healthy life" were lost in 2016, only because of pollution-linked diabetes-how many years of healthy life are lost is often referred to as "disability-adjusted life years".

The measuring line of what is considered to be safe for air pollution by the Environmental Protection Agency of the USA, and the WHO (World Health Organization) are the reason behind the soaring risk diabetes causing globally, as per a study reported to the Lancet Planetary Health journal on Friday.

While obesity, lack of exercise and genetic risk are major drivers for diabetes, studies have shown a link between the disease and pollution.

Finally, they analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease study, which is conducted annually with contributions from researchers worldwide.

"Ten or 15 years ago, we thought that air pollution caused pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis and not much more than that", said Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NY. The Washington University team wanted to see how it could be linked to reducing insulin production and triggering inflammation in the body.

'We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution now considered safe by the U.S. EPA and the World Health Organisation. This is important because many economic lobbies argue that current levels [of permitted releases of pollutants into the atmosphere] are too strict and should be increased. "Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened", the researcher added.

In this study, researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis gathered data on 1.7 million United States veterans with no history of diabetes who had been followed for a median of 8½ years.

Patient information from the veterans was compared to air quality information to examine the relationship between pollution and diabetes risk.

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He noted how even low levels of air pollution (i.e. considered to be safe levels by the EPA and WHO) could contribute to an increased risk.

They used several statistical models and tested the validity against controls such as ambient air sodium concentrations, and lower limb fractures, as well as the risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes affects more than 420 million people worldwide and 30 million Americans.

"We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution now considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO)".

The researchers that every year nearly 14 percent of all cases of diabetes are caused by the pollution. Wealthier countries such as France, Finland and Iceland faced a low risk.

Landrigan is a member of The Lancet Commission on pollution and health, which released a report a year ago estimating that pollution was responsible for 9 million premature deaths worldwide in 2015. According to the study, one in seven cases of diabetes has been caused by air pollution. The US is at a moderate risk level for pollution-related diabetes.

In October 2017, The Lancet Commission on pollution and health published a report outlining knowledge gaps on pollution's harmful health effects.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

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