According to researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), licensed pesticide applicators who use chlorinated pesticides for more than 100 days have heightened diabetes risks. The large-scale study included 33,457 licensed applicators, free from diabetes at the study’s onset. At a 5-year, follow-up interview, 1,171 reported having been diagnosed with diabetes and 30,611 reported remaining symptom-free.

The authors considered two exposure measurements: ever use and cumulative lifetime use. Seven specific pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, dichlorvos, trichlorfon, alachlor, and cyanazine) demonstrated increased odds for diabetes with both ever use and cumulative use.

“Applicators who had used the organochlorine insecticides aldrin, chlordane, and heptachlor more than 100 lifetime days had 51%, 63%, and 94% increased odds of diabetes, respectively. The observed association of organochlorine and organophosphate insecticides with diabetes is consistent with results from previous human and animal studies. Long-term exposure from handling certain pesticides, in particular, organochlorine and organophosphate insecticides, may be associated with increased risk of diabetes.”

American Journal of Epidemiology – May 15, 2008;167:1235-46.

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