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Liver disease associated with pollution

June 2, 2009 at 11:27 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky., June 2 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers have made an association between liver disease and exposure to common pollutants.

Researchers at the University of Louisville used data from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine the association of chronic low-level exposure to 111 common pollutants such as lead and mercury with otherwise unexplained liver disease in adults. The pollutants examined were detectable in 60 percent or more of the 4,500 study subjects.

"Our study found that greater than one in three U.S. adults had liver disease, even after excluding those with traditional risk factors such as alcoholism and viral hepatitis," Dr. Matthew Cave, one of the researchers, said in a statement.

"Our study shows that some of these cases may be attributable to environmental pollution, even after adjusting for obesity, which is another major risk factor for liver disease."

The findings were presented in Chicago as a part of Digestive Week, a meeting sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the American Gastroenterological Association Institute, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.

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