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April 28, 2003

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Hagerstown, Maryland, USA:

Are there chemicals used in everyday life (cleaning products mouse/rat poison, etc.) that can cause diabetes?


Since we don’t know the cause of diabetes, I cannot be sure. However, I am not aware of any products that you are likely to encounter that are known to be associated. A rat poison “Vacor” has been found to cause diabetes, but it has to be ingested.


[Editor’s comment: Vacor is a rodenticide (rat poison). It is my understanding from reviews on the Internet that it was released in 1975 but withdrawn as a general-use pesticide in 1979 because of severe toxicity. Exposure produces destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas, causing diabetes mellitus in survivors. See Drug-induced diabetes at PubMed.