In 2016 alone, the study found that global air pollution contributed to 3.2 million new cases of diabetes (14% of total cases). In the United States, air pollution has been linked to 150,000 new cases of diabetes each year.
"There is an undeniable relationship between diabetes and air pollution and particulate air pollution well below current safety standards," said senior study author Dr. Ziyad Al -An assistant professor of medicine at Washington University. "Many industry lobby groups argue that the current level is too severe and should be relaxed, and evidence shows that the current level is still not sufficiently secure and needs to be tightened."
Particulate or particulate air pollution consists of microscopic dust particles, dirt, smoke and soot mixed with liquid droplets. The finest particles regulated by the EPA are 2.5 microns; To put this in perspective, a strand of human hair is 70 microns or more than 30 times larger.
Anything less than 1
"Ten or fifteen years ago, we thought that air pollution caused pneumonia, asthma, and bronchitis, and not much more," Dr. Philip Landrigan, Dean of Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, who was not involved in the study. "We now know that air pollution is a very important cause of heart disease and stroke, contributing to chronic lung disease, lung cancer and chronic kidney disease."
In this study, medical school researchers from the University of Washington at St. Louis collected data on 1.7 million US veteran non-diabetic veterans over a median of 8½ years. After reviewing all medically known causes of diabetes and conducting a series of statistical models, they compared the veteran's diabetes levels to the levels of contamination documented by EPA and NASA.
In veterans who were exposed to air pollution between 5 and 10 micrograms per day cubic meters of air, much less than the EPA-safe level of 12 micrograms, about 21% developed diabetes. Exposure to higher concentrations between 11.9 and 13.6 micrograms caused greater risk: about 24% developed diabetes. Researchers point out that while the 3% increase appears small, it translates into an additional 5,000 to 6,000 new diabetes cases per 100,000 people per year.
Poorer countries with few resources to create and maintain clean air policy, such as India, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Guyana, face a higher risk of diabetes pollution. Wealthy countries such as France, Finland and Iceland had a low risk. The US faced a moderate risk.
"This is a very successful report, very credible, and fits in well with this new understanding of the effects of air pollution on a number of chronic diseases," Landrigan said. "I think the relaxation of clean air standards can be directly linked to the increase in disease and death."
The Commission said that 92% of pollution-related deaths occurred in low-and middle-income countries among minorities and the poor. Children, it is said, are particularly vulnerable, even at low dose.