An analysis of 21 studies has shown that exposure to pesticides is associated with increased risk of developing diabetes by 61 percent, with different types of pesticides showing varying levels of risk.
How diabetes develops is considered to be interplay between genetic and environmental factors. Emerging evidence suggests that environmental contaminants, including pesticides may play an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetes.
In this study by Giorgos Ntritsos, University of Ioannina, Greece, and Ioanna Tzoulaki and Evangelos Evangelou, Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues, the researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies that assessed the association between exposure to pesticides and diabetes.
The association between exposure to any pesticide and all types of diabetes was examined. Separate analyses for studies that looked only at type 2 diabetes (T2D) participants were performed.
The authors concluded that this systematic review supports the hypothesis that exposure to various types of pesticides increases the risk of diabetes. Subgroup analyses did not reveal any differences in the risk estimates based on the type of studies or the measurement of the exposure.
They noted that analysing each pesticide separately suggests that some pesticides are more likely to contribute to the development of diabetes than others.
The study is presented at the meeting the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).