Washington: Turns out even low pollution levels can pose a health risk.
A study by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System, found there is a possibility that reducing pollution may lead to a drop in diabetes cases in heavily polluted countries such as India and less polluted ones such as the United States.
Being one of the fastest growing diseases, diabetes is mainly caused by eating an unhealthy diet, having a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. However, the new research indicates the extent to which outdoor air pollution plays a role in it.
The study’s senior author, Ziyad Al-Aly said, “Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally. We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).”
The researchers looked at the particulate matter, airborne microscopic pieces of dust, dirt, smoke, soot and liquid droplets, to evaluate outdoor air pollution.
In diabetes, pollution reduces insulin production and triggers inflammation, preventing the body from converting blood glucose into energy that the body needs to maintain health.
The researchers also found that the overall risk of pollution-related diabetes is tilted more toward lower-income countries such as India that lack the resources for environmental mitigation systems and clean-air policies.
The full findings are present in the journal- Lancet Planetary Health.