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Exposure to PCBs Puts People at Risk for Diabetes

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 by: Tom Mosakowski
Tags: PCBs, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Nearly every person and animal in the world has detectable levels of poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in his or her body. It is thought that the levels in most people are low enough to never cause harm. However, to the list of adverse health effects resulting from high PCB exposure, a new ailment has been added, type 2 diabetes.

This was reported in the August 2008 issue of the journal Diabetes Care. The data for the study originated from an incident in late 1970s Taiwan, when cooking oil laced with PCBs poisoned thousands of Taiwanese. From 1993 to 2003, the researchers examined 378 victims and compared them to 370 reference subjects of the same neighborhoods who had not been exposed.

During the 24 years, the development of type 2 diabetes in exposed women was twice as common as in unexposed women. The women who had been the most severely affected by the PCB poisoning had more than five-times the rate of type 2 diabetes.

For unstated reasons, men did not experience an increased risk.

Past studies have shown that people with diabetes have higher levels of PCBs and other organic pollutants in their blood than people without the disorder. It's possible that the body of a person with the disorder is not as efficient at removing these pollutants as a healthy body.

One of the researchers, Yueliang Leon Guo, said that since there are detectable levels of PCBs in everyone's body, even low levels may be a factor in the rise of diabetes throughout the world. Of course, a person's activity level and diet are the overriding factors.

PCBs are a class of 200 similar man-made chemicals. They had diverse applications (fluorescent lights, insecticides, insulation, adhesives, lubricants, etc.) before they were banned in the late 1970s. Despite being banned, PCBs still permeate our world as a result of being dumped in rivers and they escape into the environment by other vectors. Many PCB products are still in use today. This class of chemicals continues to move up the food chains and become more concentrated through a process called bioaccumulation.

PCBs are very persistent chemicals. They don't break down easily and are difficult to destroy. It will take several generations for PCBs to disappear entirely from our bodies.

Seeing as these chemicals are invisible and widespread, avoidance is difficult. Besides staying away from known sources, the best choice you can make is to keep your defenses strong by staying vibrantly healthy.


Increased Risk of Diabetes and Poly-chlorinated Biphenyls and Dioxins

About the author

Tom Mosakowski, B.S. Biochemistry.

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