Medical Effects:Diabetes

Even within EPA exposure guidelines, higher exposures equate to higher prevalence.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution may be one factor explaining the dramatic rise in diabetes prevalence over the past few decades, according to research published in the October issue of Diabetes Care.

John F. Pearson, of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of the association of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) exposure and diabetes prevalence using 2004 and 2005 data and multivariate regression models at the county level in the United States.

The researchers found that the prevalence of diabetes increased 1 percent for every 10 µg/m³ increase in PM2.5 exposure, a statistically significant finding for each study year in both univariate and multivariate models. Even within U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for PM2.5 exposure limits, those with the highest levels of exposure had more than a 20-percent increase in diabetes prevalence compared to those at the lowest levels of PM2.5.

"Although EPA limits have resulted in reduced exposure to PM2.5, workers who commute experience highway levels of PM2.5 that often exceed locally measured values. Although outside the scope of our study, increasing commutes for U.S. workers may contribute to chronic disease through increased pollutant exposure, in addition to increased sedentary time, and reduced time for physical activity," the authors write.

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