Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Study Links Pollutants, Metabolic Complications

A type of environmental contaminant known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is associated with the development of certain metabolic complications of obesity such as Type 2 diabetes, according to researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway. Previous studies have highlighted potential links between diabetes and a variety of chemicals, including bishphenol A, phthalates, air pollutants, and perflourinated compounds (PFCs).

Although there is a strong association between obesity and conditions such as insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, there is a subset of obese people, known as “metabolically healthy obese,” who have the same risk for conditions such as heart disease as people who are not obese. POPs — manmade chemicals used in agricultural and manufacturing process that can be found virtually worldwide — have recently been shown to speed up the development of prediabetes and obesity in mice.

To determine whether these contaminants are associated with metabolic complications in obese people, researchers looked at 76 obese women who were of similar age, body-mass index (a measure of weight relative to height), and fat-mass index, analyzing the concentration of 21 different types of POPs in their blood. They found that women with cardiometabolic complications had significantly higher concentrations of 12 of the 18 detectable pollutants than the metabolically healthy but obese participants.

“Although this study does not show a causal link, it suggests that pollutants found abundantly in our environment could promote the development of cardiometabolic diseases like diabetes. If future studies confirm this increased risk, such observations could have a significant impact on public health decisions because we will need to dramatically reduce our exposure to these pollutants,” notes lead study author RĂ©mi Rabasa-Lhoret, MD, PhD.

For more information, read the article “Link found between pollutants, certain complications of obesity” or see the study’s abstract in The Journal of Clinical Endorinology & Metabolism. And to learn more about pollutants and diabetes, click here.

Glucose Meter Recall

Abbott Diabetes Care has issued a recall of the FreeStyle Flash and FreeStyle, two older-model blood glucose meters, due to the potential for erroneously low blood glucose results. Owners of these meters are asked to stop using them and to call Abbott Diabetes Care customer service at (888) 345-5364 to receive a replacement FreeStyle brand meter at no charge. Users who do not have alternative options for checking their blood glucose are instructed to use control solution to check the performance of their meters and contact their health-care provider if any readings seem lower than expected or do not match the way the user is feeling. The recall does not apply to the FreeStyle Freedom, FreeStyle Lite, or FreeStyle Freedom Lite.

Additionally, users of the OmniPod insulin pump have been asked to stop using the monitor that is built into the Personal Diabetes Manager until Abbott can replace the FreeStyle test strips, and to instead use the FreeStyle Freedom blood glucose meter that came with the welcome pack until the new strips arrive. Users should contact Abbott Diabetes Care customer service at (877) 584-5159 to receive replacement strips at no cost.

For more information about these recalls, click here.


  1. I believe it…no doubt in my mind…

    Posted by Terri |
  2. Interesting!! My great grandmother had 4 or 5 brothers and all died of diabetes. She died in the early 50’s when she was in her 90’s and all her brothers died before I was born. She had several children with diabetes and many grandchildren with diabetes before any of these thing you write about were around. I would call this genetics.

    Posted by Ferne |

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Diane Fennell
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