The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Granada in Spain and is published in the journal Environmental Research.
The investigators found people with higher concentrations of DDE (from the pesticide DDT), are four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, exposure to a chemical found in the common pesticide Lindano also increases the risk of developing diabetes.
Researcher, Juan Pedro Arrebola explained:
"The mechanism of action by which [chemicals] increase the risk of diabetes is still unknown. However, some researchers have suggested that [pesticides] might cause an immunological response when they penetrate estrogen receptors in tissues associated with the metabolism of sugars."
The research team examined the concentrations of specific chemicals in the fat tissue of 386 patients at San Cecilio hospital, Granada, and Santa Ana hospital in Motril, Spain.
Arrebola detailed that human fat tissue "can store potentially harmful substances, such as persistent organic pollutants" in pesticides and other waste consumed via food or absorbed through the skin, air, or water.
The outcomes revealed a direct link between the presence of these chemicals in the body and the development of type 2 diabetes. The link was seen across all ages, genders, and body weights.
The authors also pointed out that because these chemicals are concentrated in body fat, it may be an explanation for why overweight people have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Internationally, diabetes rates have risen over the past few decades and the reasons why are still unclear.
By 2030, approximately 4.4 percent of the global population is expected to develop diabetes.