In 2013 the Environmental Health Perspectives reported when all studies on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) were combined, the pollutants were linked to Type 2 diabetes. Could Gestational diabetes of diabetes of pregnancy have the same link? A study at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran says the answer is “yes.”

According to the journal Environmental Research POPs called polychlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers or PBDEs had been found in the blood of women with first-time pregnancies and no health history or family history of diabetes. Seventy women who had been diagnosed with Gestational diabetes and 70 women without diabetes diagnosed during their pregnancy, donated blood for the research. The Gestational diabetes group of women had higher levels of both POPs, and the risk of Gestational diabetes was highest in the women with the highest level of POPs. From these results, the scientists concluded exposure to the POPs studied was linked with Gestational diabetes.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency PBDEs are used as flame retardants in the following products …

  • plastics,
  • furniture,
  • upholstery,
  • electrical equipment,
  • electronic devices,
  • textiles,
  • various other household products.

PBDE's are released into the soil, water, and air, by manufacturing processes and can leach into the ground from waste sites. Seafood can contain the chemicals due to ocean pollution.

PCB's were banned in 1979 but persist in the environment. They were used for a wide range of products including …

  • electrical equipment,
  • heat transfer tools,
  • hydraulic machines,
  • pigments and dyes,
  • copy paper.

Products made before 1979 may still contain PCBs and can be encountered in products such as floor finishes, oil-based paints, and hydraulic oils.They cycle between air, earth, and water. Small animals and fish accumulate them.

Avoid PCBs in the environment by …

  • not eating fish and sea mammals, or
  • not frying in or eating fat where PCBs have been stored,
  • avoiding meat, or at least
  • removing the fat. PCBs are stored in all fat.

Vegetarian and vegan diets are often stated as being the best eating plans for Type 2 diabetics to follow. Fish is known for its omega fatty acids, but the fats are made by plants. Fish get the fats by eating algae. Cows take in fat when they eat fresh grass but get little or none from being fed hay.

Vegetable sources of omega fatty acids include …

  • soybeans,
  • soy milk,
  • flaxseed and flaxseed oil,
  • canola oil,
  • hemp seeds and hemp seed oil,
  • walnuts,
  • citrus fruits and cherries,
  • green leafy vegetables, including spinach, romaine lettuce, turnip greens, kale, and broccoli.