The relationship between PM2.5 levels and diagnosed diabetes prevalence in the U.S. was assessed by multivariate regression models at the county level using data obtained from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for years 2004 and 2005. Covariates including obesity rates, population density, ethnicity, income, education, and health insurance were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau and the CDC.
Recent studies have drawn attention to the adverse effects of ambient air pollutants such as particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) on human health. We evaluated the association between PM2.5 exposure and diabetes prevalence in the U.S. and explored factors that may influence this relationship.
Diabetes prevalence increases with increasing PM2.5 concentrations, with a 1% increase in diabetes prevalence seen with a 10 μg/m(3) increase in PM2.5 exposure (2004: β = 0.77 [95% CI 0.39-1.25], P < 0.001; 2005: β = 0.81 [0.48-1.07], P 20% increase in diabetes prevalence compared with that for those with the lowest levels of PM2.5, an association that persisted after controlling for diabetes risk factors.
Our results suggest PM2.5 may contribute to increased diabetes prevalence in the adult U.S. population. These findings add to the growing evidence that air pollution is a risk factor for diabetes.