Environmental risk factors of Type 2 Diabetes



The incidence of Type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically since 1958, according to a 2010 report published by the CDC\’s Division of Diabetes Translation, National Diabetes Surveillance System. In 1958, the rate of diabetes was .09%, increased to 6.9% in 2009. The increase in incidence of diabetes has increased further in 2010 to 8.3% of the population as reported by the American Diabetes Association in 2011.

In 2007, there were 231,404 deaths either from diabetes alone or diabetes was a contributing factor. That equates to over 500 deaths every day. Diabetes is also associated with, or the cause of, a variety of metabolic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, nervous system disorders, blindness and high blood pressure.

Diabetes puts a huge burden on our health care system, costing over $116 billion in direct medical expenses. In addition, the financial burden of diabetes to society adds another $58 billion for indirect costs such as disability, lost work time and premature death. The total expense for diabetes in the United States has been calculated at over $218 billion per year. And, as noted above, the rate of diabetes continues to increase, from 6.9% of the population to 8.3% of the population in only one year.

Studies done over the last 10 years show a strong correlation between exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics, cleaning and body care products, such as phthalates and bisphenol A, and increased incidence of obesity and developing Type II Diabetes. In addition, a study done in 2010, \”Environmental endocrine disruptors promote adipogenesis in the 3T3-L1 cell line through glucocorticoid receptor activation.\”, demonstrates that endocrine disrupting chemicals can stimulate the glucocorticoid receptors (GR), increasing the risk of obesity and developing Type II Diabetes. Furthermore, the chemicals tested, bisphenol A, dicyclohexyl phthalate, endrin, and tolylfluanid were able to stimulate the GR receptor at extremely low, virtually undetectable, picomolar, concentrations.

Of even greater concern, weight does not appear to be associated with developing Type II Diabetes associated with exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, as demonstrated by this study completed in 2011, \”Relationship between Urinary Bisphenol A Levels and Diabetes Mellitus.\”, which states: \”The association was present among normal-weight as well as overweight and obese subjects. Conclusions: Urinary BPA levels are found to be associated with diabetes mellitus independent of traditional diabetes risk factors.\”

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in numerous consumer goods. Plastics are a main source of environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals. As plastics break down over time, the chemicals leach from the plastics and into the air. In addition, food absorbs chemicals from the coating applied to the insides of food sold in cans as well as plastic when food is stored or heated in plastic containers and bags. Endocrine disrupting chemicals are also found in synthetic fragrances in cleaning and body care products. As more studies demonstrate harm to human health from plastics and synthetic fragrances, it may be in the best interest of you and your family to avoid them as much as possible. You can avoid plastics by purchasing whole foods rather than pre-packaged mixes, frozen food or canned food. You can avoid synthetic fragrances in cleaning and body care products by choosing natural alternatives for these products.