Air pollution is likely to increase the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes
Research in 2015 showed that there is a link between air pollution and the development of Type 2 diabetes. [That is the diabetes people generally acquire later in life, that is treated with medication, rather than insulin injection]. The study looked at 102 published studies from various countries. The results stated: “Air pollution is a leading cause of insulin resistance and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The association between air pollution and diabetes is stronger for traffic associated pollutants, gaseous, nitrogen dioxide, tobacco smoke and particulate matter.” And the conclusions: “Exposure to air pollutants is significantly associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is suggested that, environmental protection officials must take high priority steps to minimize the air pollution, hence to decrease the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus.” There is probably more research needed, to establish details, but it appears that there is definite positive link between the two. So areas with high levels of particulate and NOX air pollution, such as around Heathrow, are likely to see more ill health, including more diabetes.
The mechanism for the link between air pollution and various diseases is likely to be a low level of inflammation in many sorts of tissues, which then makes them more vulnerable to other conditions.
Air pollution may be linked to the development of diabetes, new study
By PIPPA NEILL (Air Quality News)
Exposure to air pollution may increase the risk of developing diabetes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
To test the impact that air pollution has on health, researchers from the University of Cardiovascular Research Institute created an environment that mimicked a polluted day in New Delhi or Beijing, by concentrating fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5).
Using a mouse model study, the researchers observed the health impacts of three groups, a control group receiving clean filtered air, a group exposed to polluted air for 24 weeks and a group fed a high-fat diet.
The researchers found that being exposed to air pollution was comparable to eating a high-fat diet. Both air pollution and the high-fat diet group showed insulin resistance and abnormal metabolism – just like you would see in a pre-diabetic state.
These changes were associated with changes in the epigenome, a layer of control that can turn on and off thousands of genes, representing a critical buffer in response to environmental factors.
The researchers highlighted that if you live in a densely polluted environment, then taking actions such as wearing a mask, using a portable indoor air cleaner, using air conditioning or closing the car windows while commuting can all help to mitigate the impacts.
For the next step of the research, the researchers will meet with a panel of experts, as well as the National Institutes of Health, to discuss conducting clinical trials that compare heart health and the level of air pollution in the environment.
Sanjay Rajagopalan, first author of the study added: ‘The good news is that these effects were reversible, at least in our experiments.
‘Once the air pollution was removed from the environment, the mice appeared healthier and the pre-diabetic state seemed to reverse.’
In related news, last month (July 7), researchers from the University of Lancaster found that toxic metallic air pollutants from industry and vehicle emissions are causing a ‘silent heart disease epidemic.’
In the report, the researchers have said that repeated inhalation of these metallic nanoparticles may account for the well-established association between exposure to particulate matter (PM2.5) and increased cardiovascular disease.
Effect of environmental air pollution on type 2 diabetes mellitus
Objective: Air pollution is a novel risk factor for insulin resistance and occurrence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), [that is the diabetes people generally acquire later in life, that is treated with medication, rather than insulin injection] but the evidence is limited and diverse. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effect of environmental air pollution on incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Methods: In this study, we identified 102 published studies through a systematic data base search including ISI-Web of Science, EMBASE and PubMed. We searched the related literature by using the key terms including diabetes mellitus, air pollution, occupational and environmental pollution, gaseous, NO2, particulate matter pollutants PM2.5, and PM10. Studies in which diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, air pollution, occupational and environmental pollution was discussed were included in the study. No confines on publication status, study design or language of publication were considered. Descriptive and quantitative information were extracted from the selected literature. Finally we included 21 publications and remaining studies were excluded.
Results: Air pollution is a leading cause of insulin resistance and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The association between air pollution and diabetes is stronger for traffic associated pollutants, gaseous, nitrogen dioxide, tobacco smoke and particulate matter.
Conclusions: Exposure to air pollutants is significantly associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is suggested that, environmental protection officials must take high priority steps to minimize the air pollution, hence to decrease the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Another study in Sept 2019 said:
Associations between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis
“The associations between AP [air pollution] exposure and T2DM [diabetes Type 2] prevalence showed no significant difference between high-income countries and low- and middle-incomes countries. However, different associations were identified between PM2.5 exposure and T2DM prevalence in different geographic areas. No significant differences were found in associations of AP and T2DM prevalence/incidence between females and males, except for the effect of NO2 on T2DM incidence. Overall, AP exposure was positively associated with T2DM. There still remains a need for evidence from low- and middle-income countries on the relationships between AP and T2DM.”
There is also another study on this at
Particulate matter pollutants and risk of type 2 diabetes: a time for concern?
New King’s College study on Heathrow ultrafine particle air pollution shows it spreads far into London
In a new study, researchers from King’s College London have measured ultrafine particles (UFP) in European cities and detected emissions from airports. Many studies have examined and quantified the levels of larger particles (e.g.PM2.5 – <2.5μm or PM10 – <10μm), but very few have studied UFP (< 0.1 μm). The researchers identified, characterised and quantified the sources UFPs in Barcelona, Helsinki, London, and Zurich between 2007 and 2017. They measured particle and gaseous pollutants at different sites and used a statistical model to identify and quantify the contribution of the different sources of ultrafine particles. They found that London had the highest concentration of UFP compared to other cities. The greatest concentrations of the smallest particles (called nucleation particles) when the wind was blowing from the airport in all cities. This indicates that airports are a major UFP source and that these small particles can travel many kilometres. Traffic emissions contributed the most. So it is confirmed that Heathrow pollution – with very negative health impacts – spreads far into London, many miles away.