Kidney problems linked to traffic pollution
Plenty of research has shown that long-term exposure to traffic exhaust increases the risk of health problems, including heart attack and stroke. And now researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have linked kidney problems with traffic pollution as well. The research indicates that exhaust fumes could harm the arteries that supply the kidneys, and, as a result, living near a busy road may increase the risk of kidney problems.
Using a test called the glomerular filtration rate, the researchers studied kidney function in a pool of 1,100 patients who had suffered a stroke. Those who lived closest to a major road had the lowest scores on the test – indicating kidney problems – even after accounting for age, sex, race, smoking status or other underlying conditions. The difference between a person who lived near traffic and one who lived far away was comparable to being four years older, the research indicated.
The study also found that half of the stroke patients who were analyzed lived within one kilometer of a major road, while the other half were more dispersed, living between one kilometer and 10 kilometers away.
Despite the results, the researchers cautioned that the study found only a link between traffic pollution and kidney problems, not necessarily that living next to a road definitely causes kidney function. However, with a link already established between pollution and heart problems, it is believed that other organs could be affected.