Previous research had already advanced the link between air pollution and diabetes, but this study is the first to make this connection explicitly.
The senior study author and assistant professor of medicine at the Washington University; Dr. Ziyad AI-Aly stated that there lies an incontrovertible bridge between particle air pollution and diabetes levels quite underneath the latest safe zone, and several industrial influential groups seek that the recent levels have become much tougher and require relaxation. Our data, on the contrary, show that current levels are not sufficiently safe and need to be even more stringent, "said Al-'Ali".
Researchers working with scientists at the Veterans Affairs' Clinical Epidemiology Centre, examined data from 1.7 million United States veterans who did not have histories of diabetes and were followed for a median of 8.5 years. After taking care of all the medically approved cases of diabetes, and sporting a series of statistical models, it is been compared with the levels of diabetes of veterans in contrast to pollution, as documented by the NASA and EPA.
According to the study, the "EPA's pollution threshold is 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the highest level of air pollution considered safe for the public, as set by the Clean Air Act of 1990 and updated in 2012". The validity of the link was tested through the introduction of two other variables: ambient sodium concentrations, which have no link to diabetes, and lower limb fractures, which have no link to outdoor air pollution.
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"We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution now considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO)". Pollution-linked diabetes led to the loss of some 8.2 million years of healthy life in the same year, which again corresponds to roughly 14% of all healthy life lost to diabetes overall.
"The one way in which we can establish a definite relationship between diabetes and air pollution is through inflammation". The lack of environmental mitigation systems and clean-air policies in "poverty stricken countries" such as India, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Guyana cause pollution-related diabetes to be higher than in richer countries like France, Finland and Iceland. The study was published recently in The Lancet Planetary Health. As per new research, even the pollution level of the country can significantly affect the increase in cases of diabetic patients. The US is at a moderate risk level for pollution-related diabetes. Also, nobody ever spoke of its relation with air pollution before this study did.
Anything less than 10 micrometers cannot only enter the lungs, it can pass into the bloodstream, where it is carried to various organs and begins a chronic inflammatory reaction thought to lead to disease.
A three per cent difference may appear small, but the researchers said that it represents an increase of 5,000 to 6,000 new diabetes cases per 100,000 people in a given year.
The team, who worked with scientists at the Veterans Affairs' Clinical Epidemiology Center, also estimated that 8.2 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes.
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