Over the years there has been a huge amount of evidence linking air pollution to many diseases including heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, kidney disease and lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
More recent studies have shown that exposure to air pollution can also lead to diabetes. Inflammation in the body, triggered by exposure to pollution, affects the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin. This leads to high levels of glucose in the blood, causing the health problems associated with diabetes.
Furthermore, a study published in the Lancet last week claims that even when pollution is at a level deemed safe by the EPA, people are at greater risk of developing diabetes. Current safety levels are set at 12 micrograms of pollution per cubic meter of air. Participants in the Lancet study were exposed to pollution of between 5 and 10 micrograms, so well within current safety guidelines.
In light of this new information it is clear safety levels are not tight enough. With around 30 million Americans suffering from diabetes and numbers rising all the time, a review of current EPA guidelines needs to be carried out urgently.
For more on the Lancet study follow this link.