Aims. To investigate the impact of iron intake on the development of type 1 diabetes (T1DM). Methods. Case-control study with self-administered questionnaire among families of children with T1DM who were less than 10 years old at the time of the survey and developed diabetes between age 1 and 6 years. Data on the types of infant feeding in the first 4 months of life was collected from parents of children with T1DM (n = 128) and controls (n = 67) <10 years old. Because some cases had sibling controls, we used conditional logistic regression models to analyze the data in two ways. First we performed a case-control analysis of all 128 cases and 67 controls. Next, we performed a case-control analysis restricted to cases (n = 59) that had a sibling without diabetes (n = 59). Total iron intake was modeled as one standard deviation (SD) increase in iron intake. The SD for iron intake was 540 mg in the total sample and 539 mg in the restricted sample as defined above. Results. The median (min, max) total iron intake in the first 4 months of life was 1159 (50, 2399) mg in T1DM cases and 466 (50, 1224) mg among controls (P < 0.001). For each one standard deviation increase in iron intake, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for type 1 diabetes was 2.01 (1.183, 3.41) among all participants (128 cases and 67 controls) while it was 2.26 (1.27, 4.03) in a restricted sample of T1 D cases with a control sibling (59 cases and 59 controls) in models adjusted for birth weight, age at the time of the survey, and birth order. Conclusion. In this pilot study, high iron intake in the first 4 months of infancy is associated with T1DM. Whether iron intake is causal or a marker of another risk factor warrants further investigation. © 2010 Ashraf et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.