PM2.5 exposure as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus in the Mexico City metropolitan area

Olivia L. Chilian-Herrera, Marcela Tamayo-Ortiz, Jose L. Texcalac-Sangrador, Stephen J. Rothenberg, Ruy López-Ridaura, Martín Romero-Martínez, Robert O. Wright, Allan C. Just, Itai Kloog, Luis F. Bautista-Arredondo, Martha María Téllez-Rojo

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14 Scopus citations


Background: Exposure to air pollution is the main risk factor for morbidity and mortality in the world. Exposure to particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5) is associated with cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, as well as with lung cancer, and there is evidence to suggest that it is also associated with type II diabetes (DM). The Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) is home to more than 20 million people, where PM2.5 levels exceed national and international standards every day. Likewise, DM represents a growing public health problem with prevalence around 12%. In this study, the objective was to evaluate the association between exposure to PM2.5 and DM in adults living in the MCMA. Methods: Data from the 2006 or 2012 National Health and Nutrition Surveys (ENSANUT) were used to identify subjects with DM and year of diagnosis. We estimated PM2.5 exposure at a residence level, based on information from the air quality monitoring system (monitors), as well as satellite measurements (satellite). We analyzed the relationship through a cross-sectional approach and as a case - control study. Results: For every 10 μg/m3 increase of PM2.5 we found an OR = 3.09 (95% CI 1.17–8.15) in the 2012 sample. These results were not conclusive for the 2006 data or for the case - control approach. Conclusions: Our results add to the evidence linking PM2.5 exposure to DM in Mexican adults. Studies in low- and middle-income countries, where PM2.5 atmospheric concentrations exceed WHO standards, are required to strengthen the evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2087
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Air pollution
  • Diabetes mellitus, type 2
  • Mexico
  • PM
  • Particulate matter


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