SEP 24, 2017 4:36 PM PDT

Air pollution may lead to kidney disease

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs (VA) St. Louis Health Care System have some bad news for our kidneys: air pollution is linked to kidney disease.

Scientists have long known that air pollution can cause heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The new study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, reports findings that air pollution can also increase the risk of chronic kidney disease may lead to kidney failure.

The team analyzed data from national Veterans’ Affairs databases and the EPA in order to see the overlaps between kidney function and air-quality levels. Since 2004, they have analyzed almost 2.5 million people in an 8-and-a-half-year span.

“Data on the relationship between air pollution and kidney disease in humans has been scarce,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, the study’s senior author. “However, once we analyzed the data, the link between air pollution and the development of kidney disease was clear.”

Fine particles in the air can pose the same dangerous threat on kidneys that it can on other organs. Because the kidneys filter the blood, toxic particles can affect kidney function. According to the study, even low levels of pollution can harm the kidneys; and no surprise here that as pollution increases, so does the threat.

“The higher the levels of air pollution, the worse it is for the kidneys,” said Al-Aly. “However, no level is completely safe. Even at relatively low levels, there was a relationship between particulate matter concentrations below the EPA thresholds and kidney disease.”

This means that where you live can affect your kidney health. The study reported that large regions of Southern California, the South, Midwest and Northeast are at risk. According to a 2016 study by the American Lung Association, more than half of the U.S. population lives in areas with too-high levels of air pollution.

Photo: Daily Mail

Sources: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, ENN 

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUN 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
Everything You Need to Know About the Tawny Frogmouth
JUN 07, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About the Tawny Frogmouth
Tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) are a captivating species of nocturnal bird that, although owl-esque in terms of ...
JUN 17, 2020
Health & Medicine
Heat Exposure Impacts Motor-Cognitive Abilities
JUN 17, 2020
Heat Exposure Impacts Motor-Cognitive Abilities
The summer solstice is approaching, and in many regions, this also means the arrival of higher temperatures. A new study ...
JUN 18, 2020
Neuroscience
How Climate Change Worsened Zika Virus Defects
JUN 18, 2020
How Climate Change Worsened Zika Virus Defects
Image: Pixabay   In 2015 a massive outbreak of the Zika virus started in Brazil and spread across 33 countries. The ...
JUL 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Common mineral found to destroy forever chemicals in contaminated water
JUL 07, 2020
Common mineral found to destroy forever chemicals in contaminated water
You have probably heard the recent concerns about PFAS, otherwise known as per/polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) or fore ...
JUL 13, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Phytoplankton have taken over the Arctic - but not because of why you think
JUL 13, 2020
Phytoplankton have taken over the Arctic - but not because of why you think
Within the past ten years, blooms of phytoplankton have taken over the Arctic. Phytoplankton, tiny algae that photosynth ...
AUG 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Discover Record-Breaking Rodent
AUG 05, 2020
Scientists Discover Record-Breaking Rodent
In a year of extremes, researchers have also unveiled a new record-breaking animal—the highest dwelling mammal on ...
Loading Comments...