Persistent organic pollutants: do they have any role in the aetiology of Diabetes mellitus?

Although there is an increase in risk factors for Diabetes such as diet, inactivity, overweight and obesity, recent study suggested the involvement of persistent organic pollutants, including dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as a possible, but controversial, cause of Diabetes mellitus.
This study, which attempts to untangle cause of the alarming increase in the prevalence of diabetes globally, investigated the association between blood PCB congener levels and the prevalence of diabetes among middle-aged, overweight and obese Japanese participants in the Saku Control Obesity Program. One hundred seventeen participants had their congener-specific PCB levels measured in addition to undergoing routine blood analyses at the time of a medical check-up. Prevalent diabetes was defined according to two methods: definite diabetes was defined as people with an HbA1c level ≥ 6.9% or who were taking medication for diabetes, and all diabetes was defined as people with an HbA1c level ≥ 6.5%, a fasting plasma glucose level ≥ 126 mg/dL, or a history of doctor-diagnosed diabetes. A multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to analyze the association between the PCB levels and the prevalence of diabetes, with adjustments for sex, age, body mass index and total lipids. As a result, PCB 146 and 180 were positively associated and PCB 163/164 and 170 were negatively associated with the prevalence of definite diabetes. The significance of the association of PCB 180 and 163/164 with the prevalence of diabetes persisted regardless of the definition of diabetes or adjustments for total lipids, suggesting the possibility that these parameters may modify the risk of diabetes. Read more here………..

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Environmental Illness in U.S. Kids Cost $76.6 Billion in One Year

“It costs a “staggering” $76.6 billion to cover the health expenses of American children who were sick because of exposure to toxic chemicals and air pollutants in 2008″; this is as contained in a recent study conducted by researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. The study which did not cover costs of all escalating childhood diseases that may have environmental contributors (eg diabetes and obesity), was published in the May issue of the Journal “Health Affairs”. This is an updated version of the study conducted by Mt. Sinai in 1997. The three new studies revealed the economic impact of toxic chemicals and air pollutants in the environment, and proposed new legislation to require testing of new chemicals as well as those already on the market.
It was observed by the researchers that this amount was 3.5% of the nation’s total health-care costs that year, compared with 2.8% in 1997. They examined the cost of childhood cancer and chronic conditions such as asthma, autism, attention deficit disorder, and intellectual disability linked at least in part to toxins and contaminants in the water, air, soil and food, as well as in homes and neighbourhoods.
In one of the studies, Leonardo Trasande, MD, associate professor of preventive medicine and paediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and his team calculated the annual cost for direct medical care and the indirect costs, such as parents’ lost work days, and lost economic productivity caring for their children, of these diseases in children.
Among the main findings:
Childhood cancer cost $95 million.
Lead poisoning cost $50.9 billion.
Autism cost $7.9 billion.
Intellectual disability cost $5.4 billion.
Exposure to mercury (methyl mercury) cost $5.1 billion.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cost $5 billion.
Asthma cost $2.2 billion.

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Bisphenol A: prenatal exposure to BPA may cause wheezing in infants.

The latest Paediatric Academic Societies annual meeting which was held last sunday, finds that the higher the amount of Bisphenol A (BPA) an expecting mother is exposed to early in her pregnancy, the more likely her newborn will experience wheezing during the first 3 years of life.
This new study has added to rising concerns about the safety of BPA, a chemical used to manufacture plastics and found in hundreds of household products, including plastic food containers, soda cans and reusable cups.
According to Dr. Adam Spanier, a Paediatrician with Penn State’s Hershey Medical Centre and  lead author of the study, foetuses exposed to high levels of BPA at 16 weeks of gestation had an increased risk of transient wheeze. At 6 months the infants were twice as likely to wheeze; the condition persisted for 3 years then cleared up. If moms-to-be were exposed to BPA later in pregnancy, researchers did not see the same effect.

“The challenge with dealing with BPA is that it has such a broad range, from zero to several thousand,” Spanier explains. “We were just looking to see if any exposure was associated with wheezing.”  At 16 weeks of gestation the women in this study tested positive for BPA levels ranging from 0.4 to 37.5 micrograms per litre.
Previous studies – done mainly on mice – have linked BPA to potential side effects on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland of foetuses, infants and children, according to the Food and Drug Administration.  But officials with the Environmental Protection Agency say there remains uncertainty in the extrapolation of dose levels from animals to humans. Still, last year the FDA concluded that there is “reason for some concern” and beefed up measures to reduce human exposure to the chemical. In particular, the government warned parents to limit infants’ use of products that contain bisphenol-A. 
In response to the study, Steven Hentges, executive director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group with the American Chemistry Council said this: “This small-scale study, which has not been peer-reviewed or published in the scientific literature, is inherently incapable of establishing a cause-effect relationship between any causative agent and wheezing. The statistical associations reported in this study have not been verified or corroborated by any other study on BPA, which is one of the best tested substances in commerce. Based on the full weight of scientific evidence, government agencies around the world have determined that BPA is safe for use.”
Spanier also notes that this investigation, which included 367 pairs of mothers and infants whose BPA levels were tested at 16 and 26 weeks of gestation and again during the delivery, was the first to evaluate the link between BPA and wheezing and the research needs to be replicated in another study population. In this study, 99% of the mothers in the study had detectable levels of urinary BPA at some point during the study. Factors associated with the increased levels in these women included working as a cashier, eating canned vegetables and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Health officials say there are several things that consumers can do to limit their exposure. 
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends purchasing plastic containers marked at the bottom with recycle codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6  because they are very unlikely to contain BPA. You can also look for the “BPA-Free” label when shopping for canned goods and various household items.
Experts from the National Institutes of Health recommend consumers avoid putting polycarbonate plastic food containers into the microwave because high temperatures may break down the chemical and increase the chances of BPA entering your food.
The National Toxicology Program also provides a list of ways to reduce exposure, including opting for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned goods. The lining of the cans are often made with BPAs. They suggest using glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers to store food.
They also recommend consumers beware of the sales receipts you receive particularly at grocery stores and ATMs, as the developer used for dyes in thermal paper may contain levels of BPA which could pose a risk for human exposure. An NIH spokesperson suggests not taking a receipt unless you have to while the government continues to investigate.

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