Organic Pollutants Linked to Gestational Diabetes

Women who are exposed to organic pollutants are more likely to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, a new study found.

At the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, researchers reported that a 10-times increased exposure to certain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) was linked to a 4.4-times increased risk for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

POPs are a group of substances that include pesticides and endocrine disruptors, which are used in farming and industrial processes.

While many of these chemicals have been banned for several years, they can remain in the soil and groundwater due to their resistance to decomposition.

Environmental risk factors

The study included 639 women from the pregnancy cohort in Crete, Greece. Researchers wanted to determine how much exposure to POPs during the first trimester of pregnancy would affect GDM risk.

According to the authors, countries around the world are experiencing an increase in the prevalence of gestational diabetes - and the findings of the current study suggests that understanding environmental risk factors could reverse the trend.

Another study presented at the EASD's annual meeting revealed that pesticide exposure is linked to increased risk for all types of diabetes.

"These findings suggest that women with high PCBs levels in early pregnancy had higher risk for gestational diabetes," the authors said. "Further studies are needed to replicate these results and to evaluate potential biological mechanisms underlying the observed associations."

Source: Diabetologia

Image courtesy of domdeen/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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