Pesticides and human diabetes: a link worth exploring?



It is no exaggeration to claim that the ‘diabetes epidemic’ has become a ‘runaway train’ causing huge health and economic consequences, especially in the developing nations. Traditionally, the risk factors for diabetes have largely focused on genetics and lifestyle. Great emphasis is placed on lifestyle measures and finding novel pharmacological treatment options to combat diabetes, but there is increasing evidence linking environmental pollutants, especially pesticides, to the development of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. Pesticide use has increased dramatically worldwide and the effects of pesticides on glucose metabolism are too significant for a possible diabetogenic link to be dismissed. The aim of this review article was to assess the links between pesticides and human diabetes with the goal of stimulating further research in this area.