There is a link between high levels of air pollution and increased risk for diabetes, especially among people of color.

More about air pollution and poor health

Air pollution has been called “the new tobacco” by the World Health Organization because of its damaging effects on the body. In fact, over 90% of the world’s population is breathing in toxic air. Research shows that this level of air pollution may be damaging every cell in the human body and can cause heart and lung disease, dementia, liver problems, damaged skin, and stroke. Some studies even found a link between high levels of air pollution and diabetes. These pollutants in the air can cause widespread inflammation that floods the body and the bloodstream. This pollution could limit insulin production and trigger inflammation, preventing the body from converting blood glucose into energy that the body needs to maintain good health.

Air pollution is a global issue, but low-income cities are the most affected. Research has shown that minority and poor communities are more likely to live near dangerous air pollution. In fact, Asian American, African American, and Latino residents in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region of the United States are exposed to more air pollution from cars, trucks, and buses than other groups. On average, African Americans are exposed to 61% more of the tiny pollution particles from burning gasoline, Asian Americans breathe 73% more, and Latinos 75% more. In general, it is also common for urban areas to have illegal levels of air pollution. This research raises the possibility that reducing pollution could potentially lead to a drop in diabetes cases in heavily polluted areas.

[Abstract Link]

Photo credit Sergio Rodriguez Portugues del Olmo at Unsplash.