Exposure to novel brominated and organophosphate flame retardants and associations with type 2 diabetes in East China: A case-control study

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


The alternative flame retardants, novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs) and organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) are ubiquitous in the environment and biota and may induce endocrine disruption effects. Associations between traditional endocrine-disrupting chemicals and type 2 diabetes have been extensively reported in epidemiological studies. However, the effects of NBFRs and OPFRs in humans have not been reported to date. This paper reports a case-control study of 344 participants aged 25–80 years from Shandong Province, East China, where potential associations between serum NBFR and OPFR concentrations and type 2 diabetes are assessed for the first time. After adjusting for covariates (i.e., age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol consumption, triglycerides, and total cholesterol), serum concentrations of pentabromotoluene, 2,3-dibromopropyl 2,4,6-tribromophenyl ether, tri-n-propyl phosphate, triphenyl phosphate, and tris (2-ethylhexyl) phosphate were significantly positively associated with type 2 diabetes. In the control group, decabromodiphenyl ethane and triphenyl phosphate were significantly positively associated with fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. In the quantile g-computation model, significant positive mixture effect was found between the flame retardants mixtures and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and decabromodiphenyl ethane contributed the largest positive weights to the mixture effect. Overall, these findings suggest that exposure to NBFRs and OPFRs may promote type 2 diabetes.

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Science of the Total Environment