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Long-term pesticide exposure may increase risk of diabetes
Date:6/4/2008

lina and Iowa. The 31,787 applicators in this study included those who completed an enrollment survey about lifetime exposure levels, were free of diabetes at enrollment, and updated their medical records during a five-year follow-up phone interview. Among these, 1,171 reported a diagnosis of diabetes in the follow-up interview. The majority of the study participants were non-Hispanic white men.

Researchers compared the pesticide use and other potential risk factors reported by the 1,171 applicators who developed diabetes since enrolling in the study to those who did not develop diabetes. Among the 50 different pesticides the researchers looked at, they found seven specific pesticides aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, dichlorvos, trichlorfon, alachlor and cynazine that increased the likelihood of diabetes among study participants who had ever been exposed to any of these pesticides, and an even greater risk as cumulative days of lifetime exposure increased.

All seven pesticides are chlorinated compounds, including two herbicides, three organochlorine insecticides and two organophosphate pesticides.

"The fact that all seven of these pesticides are chlorinated provides us with an important clue for further research," said Kamel. Previous studies found that organochlorine insecticides such as chlordane were associated with diabetes or insulin levels. The new study shows that other types of chlorinated pesticides, including some organophosphate insecticides and herbicides, are also associated with diabetes. The researchers also found that study participants who reported mixing herbicides in the military had increased odds of diabetes compared to non-military participants.


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Contact: Robin Mackar
rmackar@niehs.nih.gov
919-541-0073
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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