University of California study warns high risk of diabetes in Indian Americans due to DDT exposure

indica News Bureau-

The American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology released shocking research results in its November issue about the connection of diabetes and DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). The research found that Indian Americans who may have been exposed to high levels of DDT are likely to be at greater risk of developing diabetes, researchers associated with the University of California concluded the findings.

Based on results from animal studies, the researchers hypothesized that persistent organic pollutants (POPs) could contribute to diabetes by causing excess fat deposition in the liver, which in turn can lead to insulin resistance.

DDT is an insecticide that was commonly used in agriculture until its toxic side effects were exposed.

After the United Nations Stockholm convection banned the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as DDT, the US also followed the directions of  the UN. However, POP production and use continues in some nations that have not ratified the treaty, including India and other South Asian countries. Previous studies have found DDT in samples taken from the environment, food and people of the Indian subcontinent, the researchers wrote.

“Our findings evoke a new interpretation of Rachel Carson’s famous book Silent Spring, in that the high DDT exposures of South Asian immigrants in the US currently fall on deaf ears in the US.,” said lead author Michele La Merrill, an associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Toxicology. “Although DDT remains in use in other nations and migration globalizes these exposures, people in the U.S. often mistakenly regard DDT exposure as no longer relevant to our society due to its ban in this country nearly 50 years ago.”

Researcher conducted tests on humans after the animal testing. They examined the levels of 30 environmental pollutants in blood plasma samples from 147 Indian American participants, 45 to 84 years old, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was found that the levels of POPs were much higher in Indian Americans than level of POPs in the larger US population.

The participants with higher levels of DDT in their blood were more likely to be obese, store excess fat in their livers and show increased insulin resistance compared to people with lower levels, according to the study’s results. Researchers emphasized the the need for more research to establish the relationship between POPs and Indian American.



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