Tiny particles of air pollution were already known to raise people's risk of developing heart and lung disease, but a new study suggests they might also raise the risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
Researchers from Peking University in Beijing, China, found that the risks from this fine particulate matter was significantly stronger in urban areas, and among males, younger adults and adults without other health conditions.
The investigators analyzed 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% 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.
The research was published online this week in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
"Although ambient air quality has improved substantially during the past five years in China, the national annual particulate matter level in China exceeds the World Health Organization's guideline," study author Dr. Luxia Zhang said in a journal news release.
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.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers more information on fine particulate matter's impact on health and the environment.
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