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Title: Elevated levels of organochlorine pesticides in South Asian immigrants are associated with an increased risk of diabetes
Authors: Elliott, Paul
Kooner, Jaspal
Macherone, Anthony
McMullin, Matthew
Zhang, Luoping
Chambers, John Campbell
Sanchez, Sylvia S.
La Merrill, Michele A.
Hubbard, Alan E.
Smith, Martyn T.
Daniels, Sarah I.
Keywords: Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene
Issue Date: 2018
Source: Daniels, S. I., Chambers, J. C., Sanchez, S. S., La Merrill, M. A., Hubbard, A. E., Macherone, A., . . . Kooner, J. (2018). Elevated levels of organochlorine pesticides in South Asian immigrants are associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Journal of the Endocrine Society, 2(8), 832-841. doi:10.1210/js.2017-00480
Series/Report no.: Journal of the Endocrine Society
Abstract: Objective: Rates of diabetes mellitus are higher in South Asians than in other populations and persist after migration. One unexplored cause may be higher exposure to persistent organic pollutants associated with diabetes in other populations. We compared organochlorine (OC) pesticide concentrations in South Asian immigrants and European whites to determine whether the disease was positively associated with OC pesticides in South Asians. Research Design and Methods: South Asians of Tamil or Telugu descent (n = 120) and European whites (n = 72) were recruited into the London Life Sciences Population Study cohort. Blood samples as well as biometric, clinical, and survey data were collected. Plasma levels of p,p′-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), p,p′- dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, β-hexachlorohexane (HCH), and polychlorinated biphenyl-118 were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. South Asian cases and controls were categorized by binary exposure (above vs below the 50th percentile) to perform logistic regression. Results: Tamils had approximately threefold to ninefold higher levels of OC pesticides, and Telugus had ninefold to 30-fold higher levels compared with European whites. The odds of exposure to p,p′-DDE above the 50th percentile was significantly greater in South Asian diabetes cases than in controls (OR: 7.00; 95% CI: 2.22, 22.06). The odds of exposure to β-HCH above the 50th percentile was significantly greater in the Tamil cases than in controls (OR: 9.35; 95% CI: 2.43, 35.97). Conclusions: South Asian immigrants have a higher body burden of OC pesticides than European whites. Diabetes mellitus is associated with higher p,p′-DDE and β-HCH concentrations in this population. Additional longitudinal studies of South Asian populations should be performed.
DOI: 10.1210/js.2017-00480
Rights: © 2019 Endocrine Society. This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY;, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s).
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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