Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Diabetes Prevalence in Relation to Serum Concentrations of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Congener Groups and Three Chlorinated Pesticides in a Native American Population

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Diabetes Prevalence in Relation to Serum Concentrations of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Congener Groups and Three Chlorinated Pesticides in a Native American Population

Article excerpt

Introduction

Diabetes is a very prevalent chronic disease in developed countries and is increasing in incidence around the world, with a significant burden of morbidity and mortality as well as health care costs (CDC 2014). Diabetes is an important risk factor for coronary and peripheral vascular disease, diabetic retinopathy, kidney disease, and nervous system impairment. In 2010 alone there were approximately 1.9 million new diagnoses of diabetes in Americans 20 years of age and older (CDC 2014), and data from the Framingham Heart Study indicates a doubling of incidence of type 2 diabetes in the last 30 years (Fox et al. 2006). Incidence and prevalence of diabetes vary by age, race, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors and are higher among Native Americans than among Caucasians (Acton et al. 2002). Known risk factors for diabetes include obesity, genetic predisposition, hyperinsulinemia (a marker for insulin resistance), sedentary lifestyle (Hu et al. 2001; Kriska et al. 2003) and cigarette smoking (Rimm et al. 1995; Will et al. 2001).

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were produced for various uses until the late 1970s when their production was banned in the United States (ATSDR 2000). Large quantities of PCBs have been released into the environment. They are persistent substances both in the environment and in living organisms, and they bioaccumulate and biomagnify in the food chain. Once in the human body they persist for long periods, accumulating in adipose tissue and in the lipid component of serum. Organochlorine pesticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its major metabolite, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and mirex are also banned in most countries (Dunlap 1981; ATSDR 1995), but are persistent and present in the environment and in human serum (Carpenter 2006).

The Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne is a Native American population residing along the St. Lawrence River that separates New York State from the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Mohawks are a traditional fish-eating community. There were three aluminum foundries just upriver from the reservation, operated by General Motors, Reynold Metals, and ALCOA (Hwang et al. 1993). PCBs (primary Aroclor 1248) were used as hydraulic fluids at all three facilities. PCBs that leaked were washed into the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries. In previous studies, PCB levels in serum and in the breast milk of Mohawk women were correlated to rates of consumption of local fish, although rates of local fish consumption have declined after issuance of advisories (Hwang et al. 1996; Fitzgerald et al. 2004).

Recent studies have reported an association between exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and diabetes (reviewed by Carpenter 2008). Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Lee et al. (2006) found a dose-response relationship between serum concentrations of six persistent POPs (PCB153, two dioxin congeners, oxychlordane, DDE, and trans-nonachlor) and diabetes. There has, however, been difficulty in determining whether specific POPs are responsible for the associations seen since all of the ones usually studied are lipophilic and migrate together. Thus, finding an association between levels of one lipophilic chemical and diabetes, if there is no control for concentrations of other lipophilic chemicals, does not necessarily suggest a cause and effect relationship with the first chemical but may rather reflect actions of another chemical whose concentration correlates with the first one. In an earlier publication, Aminov et al. (2013) presented a detailed analysis of the benefits and dangers of adjusting for concentrations of individual lipophilic POPs. In the present data analysis, we have applied two models to the data with increasing levels of adjustment in order to distinguish which of the PCB congener groups and which of the pesticides are most closely associated with elevations in diabetes. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.