Relationships Between Urinary Metals and Diabetes Traits Among Mexican Americans in Starr County, Texas, USA

Margaret C. Weiss, Yu Hsuan Shih, Molly Scannell Bryan, Brian P. Jackson, David Aguilar, Craig L. Hanis, Maria Argos, Robert M. Sargis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hispanics/Latinos have higher rates of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and the origins of these disparities are poorly understood. Environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including some metals and metalloids, are implicated as diabetes risk factors. Data indicate that Hispanics/Latinos may be disproportionately exposed to EDCs, yet they remain understudied with respect to environmental exposures and diabetes. The objective of this study is to determine how metal exposures contribute to T2D progression by evaluating the associations between 8 urinary metals and measures of glycemic status in 414 normoglycemic or prediabetic adults living in Starr County, Texas, a Hispanic/Latino community with high rates of diabetes and diabetes-associated mortality. We used multivariable linear regression to quantify the differences in homeostatic model assessments for pancreatic β-cell function, insulin resistance, and insulin sensitivity (HOMA-β, HOMA-IR, HOMA-S, respectively), plasma insulin, plasma glucose, and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) associated with increasing urinary metal concentrations. Quantile-based g-computation was utilized to assess mixture effects. After multivariable adjustment, urinary arsenic and molybdenum were associated with lower HOMA-β, HOMA-IR, and plasma insulin levels and higher HOMA-S. Additionally, higher urinary copper levels were associated with a reduced HOMA-β. Lastly, a higher concentration of the 8 metal mixtures was associated with lower HOMA-β, HOMA-IR, and plasma insulin levels as well as higher HOMA-S. Our data indicate that arsenic, molybdenum, copper, and this metal mixture are associated with alterations in measures of glucose homeostasis among non-diabetics in Starr County. This study is one of the first to comprehensively evaluate associations of urinary metals with glycemic measures in a high-risk Mexican American population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-538
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Chemical mixtures
  • Diabetes
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Metalloids
  • Metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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