POST TIME: 1 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 1 July, 2018 03:38:23 AM
Significant link between air pollution and diabetes: Study

Significant link between air pollution and diabetes: Study

Air pollution caused one in seven new cases of diabetes in 2016, according to a US study, which found even low levels raised the chances of developing the chronic disease, reports AFP from Paris. Diabetes has primarily been associated with lifestyle factors like diet and a sedentary lifestyle, but research by the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis said pollution also plays a major role.

The study estimated that pollution contributed to 3.2 million new diabetes cases globally in 2016 -- or around 14 percent of all new diabetes cases globally that year.

"Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally," said Ziyad Al-Aly, the study's senior author.

Pollution is thought to reduce the body's insulin production, "preventing the body from converting

blood glucose into energy that the body needs to maintain health," according to the research.

Al-Aly said the research, published in the Lancet Planetary Health, found an increased risk even with levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the

World Health Organization (WHO).

"This is important because many industry lobbying

groups argue that current levels are too stringent and

should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels

are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened,"

he added.

Researchers working with scientists at the Veterans Affairs' Clinical Epidemiology Center, examined data from 1.7 million US veterans who did not have histories of diabetes and were

followed for a median of 8.5 years.

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