Occupational metal exposures, smoking and risk of diabetes and prediabetes

Metal exposure and tobacco smoking have been independently associated with diabetes, but no study has been conducted to investigate the interaction between them on the risk of diabetes. This study aimed to investigate the effect of occupational exposure to metals, and potential effect modification by smoking, on the risk of diabetes and prediabetes in a cohort of Chinese male workers. The authors assessed metal exposure and tobacco smoking at baseline in the Jinchang Cohort of male workers. Poisson regression analyses was used to estimate the interaction between smoking and metal exposures based on occupations, which were grouped according to the measured urinary metal levels. Among the 26008 study subjects, compared with non-smokers, the adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) for diabetes was 1.8 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-2.4] for smokers of >40 pack-years. The adjusted PRs were 1.2 (95% CI 1.1-1.4) among mining/production workers and 2.7 (95% CI 2.4-3.0) among smelting/refining workers, both compared with office workers. There was significant effect modification under the additive model between smoking and metal exposure on the prevalence of diabetes (Pinteraction = 0.001), with an adjusted PR of 3.6 (95% CI 2.4-5.4) for those with >40 pack-years of smoking who had the highest metal exposures, whereas no significant interaction was observed for prediabetes. The authors concluded that both exposure to metals and heavy smoking were associated with an increased prevalence of diabetes in this large cohort of male workers. There was also strong interaction between these two exposures in affecting diabetes risk that should be confirmed in future studies.

Authors: Yang A, Cheng N, Pu H, Liu S, Dai M, Zheng T, Bai Y. ;Full Source: Occupational Medicine (London). 2016 Jul 14. pii: kqw078. [Epub ahead of print] ;