Nihon eiseigaku zasshi. Japanese journal of hygiene

[Associations of exposure to dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls with diabetes: based on epidemiological findings].

PMID 22781010


Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a group of chemical substances that have the common properties of resistance to biodegradation, wide-range transportation, high lipophilicity, bioaccumulation in fat, and biomagnification in the food chain. POPs are persistent in the environment worldwide and have potential adverse impacts on human health and the environment. Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are well known chemicals that are considered as POPs. The association between high-level exposure to dioxins and type 2 diabetes among U.S. Air Force veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) during the Vietnam War was reported in the late 1990s. This association has been supported by similar epidemiologic studies, whose subjects were exposed to high doses of dioxins in their places of work involving phenoxyacid herbicide production and spraying, and in the industrial accident in Seveso, Italy. Recently, low-level exposure to dioxins and PCBs has been reported to be linked to type 2 diabetes. Cross-sectional studies in the U.S. general population and Japanese general population showed that body burden levels of some dioxins and PCBs were strongly associated with the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Very recently, following these cross-sectional studies, several prospective studies have suggested that low-level exposure to some PCBs predicted the future risk of type 2 diabetes in the general population. Environmental exposure to some dioxins and PCBs, which mainly accumulate in adipose tissue, may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.