Saturday August 16, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new
study in the journal Diabetes Care shows people who have been exposed to high
levels of polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs may be at a higher risk of type 2
diabetes than those who have not.
The toxic effect of PCBs was found in Taiwanese adults
who were poisoned in the 1970s by cooking oil contaminated with the pollutants.
For the study, Dr. Yueliang Leon Guo at the National
Taiwan University and colleagues compared 378 adults who were exposed to PCBs with
370 of their neighbors who were not for their incidences of type 2 diabetes.
Women who used cooking oil tainted with PCBs were found
twice as likely as others to develop type 2 diabetes during a period of 24
Those who were severely affected
by PCB exposure were four times as likely to develop the condition.
But no association was found in men.
PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids for
transformers and capacitors, pesticide extenders, cutting oils, flame
retardants, hydraulic fluids, sealants, adhesives, wood floor finishes, paints,
de-dusting agents, and in carbonless copy paper, according to wikipedia.
Due to their high toxicity, PCBs were banned in
But they are persistent in the
environment decades later causing concerns about their impact on the
Another similar group of chemicals known as polybrominated
biphenyls or PBBs replace PCBs in many applications such as in flame
These chemicals also cause
concerns because they are chemically very similar to PCBs.
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