Particulate Matter and Kidney Damage: Is There a Link?

HealthDay News — Air pollution may lead to kidney damage, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, director of clinical epidemiology at the VA Saint Louis Health Care System, and colleagues analyzed data from 2,482,737 US military veterans who were followed for 8.52 years.

The researchers found that as exposure to particulate matter air pollution increased, so did the risk of poorer kidney function, kidney disease, and kidney failure. The strongest link between air pollution and kidney damage was seen in southern California and large swaths of the Midwest, the Northeast, and the South. The results suggest that each year in the United States, 44,793 new cases of chronic kidney disease and 2,438 new cases of kidney failure are associated with particle pollution exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended limit.

“Even levels below the limit set by the EPA were harmful to the kidneys,” Dr Al-Aly said in a journal news release. “This suggests that there is no safe level of air pollution.”

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Bowe B, Xie Y, Li T, Yan Y, Xian H, Al-Aly Z. Particulate matter air pollution and the risk of incident CKD and progression to ESRD [published online Septebmer 21, 2017]. J Am Soc Nephrol. doi:10.1681/ASN.2017030253