According to a new study, air pollution dramatically increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers claim.
The research further found that around one in seven cases of the disease were directly caused by air pollution around the world in 2016 – about 3.2million cases in total.
Researchers say the link is ‘significant’ even for low levels of air pollution which are considered to be safe.
This is the first of its kind study to estimate the number of diabetes cases caused by pollution globally.
Although type 2 diabetes is mainly thought to be caused by obesity, several recent studies have linked it to air pollution.
According to experts, tiny particles in the air reduce the body’s ability to respond to the hormone insulin. They are known as‘insulin resistance’.
This causes the glucose levels in the blood to increase which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Research conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, looked at data from 1.7million US veterans who were followed for eight and a half years.
They found the risk of developing type 2 diabetes went up 10 per cent for every 10 microgram per cubic metre increase in fine particulate matter in the air.
The study, published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, also estimated 8.2million years of healthy life were lost around the world in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes.