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Air pollution can damage kidneys

Tiny particles of air pollution were already known to raise people’s risk of developing heart and lung disease. But researchers from China said they might also raise the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. The research was published online in the ‘Journal of the American Society of Nephrology’. Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from the blood, which are then excreted in the urine.

The team from Peking University in Beijing, China, found that the risks from this fine particulate matter (PM) was significantly stronger in urban areas, and among males, younger adults, and adults without other health conditions.

“Particulate matter,” also known as particle pollution or PM, is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems.

EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs and once inhaled, can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.

The findings provide evidence to policymakers and public health officials for the need for stricter air quality control measures to help protect individuals’ kidney health, the researchers said.

They analysed survey data from more than 47,000 adults in China and estimated the two-year air pollution levels at each person’s residence from satellite-based information. They found that 10.8 per cent of participants had chronic kidney disease. Each increase of fine particulate matter of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air was associated with 1.3 times higher odds of having the disease. According to the study author, Dr. Luxia Zhang:”

Although ambient air quality has improved substantially during the past five years in China, the national annual particulate matter level in China exceeded the World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline.”

 

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