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Stanford University researchers on May 20th release a new report that links diabetes with environmental causes. Yes, you can still reduce your chances of the disease by eating right, keeping your weight down and exercising, but you can also mitigate risk by avoiding PCBs, according to researchers.

From the study press release: “The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes was two to three times higher for those with the higher levels of [PCBs] compared to those with the lowest. Type 2 diabetes prevalence among those with high levels of heptachlor epoxide, a break down product of a previously common pesticide, was at about two times higher than those with low levels of the compound. (The United States banned the manufacture of PCBs in the United States in 1979 and banned heptachlor for most uses in 1988, but the compounds persist in the environment, especially near former industrial sites or contaminated soil.)”

Oh, and the report failed to mention that PCBs can also be found in fish. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a few years ago put out a report that looked at which states had the highest fish advisories for PCBs. You can check it out yourself, but suffice it to say more than 35 states were on the list, most of which are on the East Coast. A March 2010 lawsuit even claims that PCBs can be found in fish oil supplements. (One weird aside: researchers also found people with higher levels of beta carotene, a type of vitamin A, were also more likely to have diabetes.)

I spent an hour on the phone with a friend tonight. The same friend who is going through cancer treatments with her mother and husband. We talked a lot about chemicals and the environment and how we’re really suffering because of the lack of regulation and care from our government. You have to wonder: will BPA become the next PCB? Good question, right?

What do you think of reports like this? How do you feel about the lack of government oversight when it comes to chemicals and additives in our environment?

2 Responses to “Environmental Cause for Diabetes?”

  1. MarthaandMe says:

    Horrifying. There are so many chemicals in our food, in our homes – everywhere. Sometimes it seems absolutely overwhelming and impossible to get rid of them.

  2. Alexandra says:

    Thank you for blogging about this topic. I have been writing about it on my blog for a while. Most recently I was outraged when the conclusions of the President’s Cancer Panel were pooh-poohed by the American Cancer Society. I checked and guess what? Major contributers to ACS are in the chemical industry. I believe change will not come unless we all put pressure on our legislators. We must support the EPA as it attempts to regulate synthetic chemicals that have entered the environment over the past 50 years. I am convinced much of the cancer happening now has environmental causes and triggers, as the President’s Cancer Panel report suggests. It is up to us to spread the word.

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