A recent study has suggested that the higher the level of pollution, the more dangerous it is for the kidneys. Yet, even small amounts of pollution can still be damaging to kidneys.

People inhale dust, dirt, smoke, and other air pollutants, and these particles infiltrate the bloodstream then goes through the kidneys to be filtered.

This filtering action in the blood to get rid of wastes exposes the kidneys to such damages, according to the research headed by the American Society of Nephrology.

“Data on the relationship between air pollution and kidney disease in humans has been scarce. However, once we analyzed the data, the link between air pollution and the development of kidney diseases was clear,” said Dr Ziyad Al-Aly, one of the researchers.

For the study, the researchers followed two-and-a-half million US veterans for 8.5 years, beginning in 2004.

The researchers looked at the air quality of places where the veterans live, with the help of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) providing data.

In particular, the team focused on the PM 2.5, a type of pollution which is about 2.5 microns in size. It can come from vehicle emissions, fossil fuel power plants, wildfires and campfires.

The team found that air pollution might have caused 44,793 new cases of kidney disease and 2,438 cases of kidney failure every year.

The cases are especially high in geographic areas with particularly high pollution. They identified Southern California, the South, and the Midwest United States.

“The higher the levels of air pollution, the worse it is for the kidneys. However, no level is completely safe,” Dr Al-Aly said, and added that even those with particularly low levels are likewise at risk.

Dr Al-Aly likewise said that further study is needed to have a broader assessment of the effects of pollution to kidney disease.  MIMS

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