Air pollution can cause many health problems, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, cancer, asthma, and stroke.
In a new study, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found that breathing dirty air can also harm your kidney health.
The finding is published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The researchers used national Veterans Affairs date to examine the influence of air pollution and kidney disease on nearly 2.5 million people over a period of 8.5 years, beginning in 2004.
They found that during that time, there were 44,793 new cases of kidney disease and 2,438 new cases of kidney failure.
This might be attributed to levels of air pollution that exceed the EPA’s threshold of 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
Based on the results, the researchers suggest that Pollution may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease and, eventually contribute to kidney failure.
The team suggests that although there is little research about air pollution and kidney disease in humans, the link between air pollution and the development of kidney disease is clear in this study.
Fine particles can damage the kidneys in the same way they damage other organs such as the heart and lungs. The microscopic pieces of dust, dirt, smoke, and liquid droplets can harm the bloodstream.
Because the kidneys filter the blood, these harmful particles can damage the kidney function. The higher the levels of air pollution, the worse it is for the kidneys.
Therefore, chronic exposure to air pollution is a significant risk factor for the development and progression of kidney disease.
The researchers also point out that Southern California and large regions in the South, Midwest and Northeast at the greatest risk for kidney decline attributed to air pollution.
And in many places across the globe, including China and India, outdoor air pollution is significantly worse than in the US.