According to a U.S. study, one-seventh of the new diabetes cases in 2016 were caused by air pollution; studies have found that even mild air pollution can increase the risk of this chronic disease.
Diabetes is mainly related to lifestyles such as diet and sedentary, but the research team at the Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri says air pollution is also a major cause.
The study estimates that air pollution in 2016 led to an increase of 3.2 million new cases of diabetes worldwide, accounting for approximately 14% of global new cases in the same year.
Ziyad Al-Aly, the main author of the research report, said: “Our study found that air pollution is related to the occurrence of global diabetes cases.”
Research suggests that air pollution will reduce the body’s insulin secretion and “prevent the body from converting blood sugar to the energy needed by the body to maintain its health.”
Ari found that even the current level of air pollution that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) believe is safe will increase the risk of diabetes. The study was published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health.
He further pointed out: “This is very important, because many industrial lobby groups argue that the current regulations are too strict and should be relaxed. However, the evidence shows that the current regulations are still not enough to ensure safety and must be strictly modified.”
Global diabetes has more than 420 million people, making it one of the fastest-growing diseases in the world.