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October 29, 2002

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Edinburgh, Scotland:

I have a friend from Cuba who contracted type�1 diabetes around the same time as his town was exposed to a chemical toxin from an accident in a nearby factory. Is it possible that the toxin was responsible in some way for the type 1 diabetes?

Answer:

It is difficult to guess at what the answer might be without knowing what the toxin was and whether your friend actually absorbed any of it or whether there were any other related cases of diabetes. At all events, it is very unlikely that any industrial accident would have caused type�1A (autoimmune) diabetes. Since your friend is Cuban, it is quite probable he has what is now called type�1B diabetes which may have a different etiology, but again there are no reports in the literature that would support this sort of a relationship.

DOB

[Editor’s comment: The only toxin that I am aware of that is associated with diabetes is dioxin. See Dioxin and Diabetes at the Diabetes Monitor.

WWQ]