Open access
Research Article
1 December 2001

Environmental contaminants as etiologic factors for diabetes.

Publication: Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 109, Issue suppl 6
Pages 871 - 876


For both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus, the rates have been increasing in the United States and elsewhere; rates vary widely by country, and genetic factors account for less than half of new cases. These observations suggest environmental factors cause both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Occupational exposures have been associated with increased risk of diabetes. In addition, recent data suggest that toxic substances in the environment, other than infectious agents or exposures that stimulate an immune response, are associated with the occurrence of these diseases. We reviewed the epidemiologic data that addressed whether environmental contaminants might cause type 1 or type 2 diabetes. For type 1 diabetes, higher intake of nitrates, nitrites, and N-nitroso compounds, as well as higher serum levels of polychlorinated biphenyls have been associated with increased risk. Overall, however, the data were limited or inconsistent. With respect to type 2 diabetes, data on arsenic and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin relative to risk were suggestive of a direct association but were inconclusive. The occupational data suggested that more data on exposure to N-nitroso compounds, arsenic, dioxins, talc, and straight oil machining fluids in relation to diabetes would be useful. Although environmental factors other than contaminants may account for the majority of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the etiologic role of several contaminants and occupational exposures deserves further study.

Formats available

You can view the full content in the following formats:

Information & Authors


Published In

Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 109Issue suppl 6December 2001
Pages: 871 - 876
PubMed: 11744505


Published online: 1 December 2001



M P Longnecker
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709-2233, USA. [email protected]
J L Daniels
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709-2233, USA. [email protected]

Metrics & Citations


About Article Metrics


Download citation

If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click DOWNLOAD.

Cited by

  • Advancing global public health with occupational epidemiology, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 10.1136/oemed-2023-108939, 80, 9, (485-488), (2023).
  • Early Life Short-Term Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyl 126 in Mice Leads to Metabolic Dysfunction and Microbiota Changes in Adulthood, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 10.3390/ijms23158220, 23, 15, (8220), (2022).
  • Preference between serum homocysteine and urinary periostin as early predictive biomarkers of renal dysfunction among uncontrolled diabetics, Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 10.1515/jcim-2021-0511, 19, 2, (399-405), (2022).
  • Cadmium inhibits signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 leading to pancreatic β cell apoptosis, Endocrine Journal, 10.1507/endocrj.EJ21-0115, 69, 4, (361-371), (2022).
  • Relationships between emissions of toxic airborne molecules and type 1 diabetes incidence in children: An ecologic study, World Journal of Diabetes, 10.4239/wjd.v12.i5.673, 12, 5, (673-684), (2021).
  • Inulin Fermentable Fiber Ameliorates Type I Diabetes via IL22 and Short-Chain Fatty Acids in Experimental Models, Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2021.04.014, 12, 3, (983-1000), (2021).
  • Dietary factors and risk of islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis, eBioMedicine, 10.1016/j.ebiom.2021.103633, 72, (103633), (2021).
  • A study on various pollutants in water and their effect on blood of the consumers, Applied Water Science, 10.1007/s13201-021-01498-y, 11, 10, (2021).
  • Plasma paraoxonase1 activity in rats treated with monocrotophos: a study of the effect of duration of exposure, Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 10.2478/intox-2019-0015, 12, 3, (129-135), (2020).
  • Maternal Nitrate and Nitrite Intakes during Pregnancy and Risk of Islet Autoimmunity and Type 1 Diabetes: The DIPP Cohort Study, The Journal of Nutrition, 10.1093/jn/nxaa250, 150, 11, (2969-2976), (2020).

View Options

View options


View PDF

Get Access

Restore your content access

Enter your email address to restore your content access:

Note: This functionality works only for purchases done as a guest. If you already have an account, log in to access the content to which you are entitled.







Copy the content Link

Share on social media