Women who used five distinct classes of pesticides were found to have an increased risk of diabetes. The analyzed data included 32,126 female spouses who enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) between the years of 1993-1997. The women were followed for 5 and 10 years later and data was recorded on a multitude of health conditions, including adult-onset diabetes.
Of the final sample size of 13,637 who responded to the first follow up phone call, 688 women self-reported that they had been diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes, which represents 5% of that sample group. The women in this study who were diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes had been exposed to certain types of pesticides more than women in the study who did not develop diabetes.
The pesticides that had a statistically significant relationship with adult-onset diabetes in women pesticide users include:
Dieldrin (organochlorine insecticide banned in US in 1985)
Fonofos (organophosphate insecticide banned in US in 1999)
Phorate (organophosphate insecticide still allowed to limited extent, pending EPA review)
Parathion (organophosphate insecticide, phased out in early 2000s)
2,4,5-T/2,4,5-TP (chlorophenoxy herbicide both banned since 1985)
Many of the pesticides have been banned for many years at the time of the study but the women examined in this study had used them at some point in their lives and were seeing deleterious health impacts many years later.