New study shows air pollution may be causing kidney disease in the US

Philippe Huguen | AFP | Getty Images
Smoke from a factory in Haubourdin, northern France.

Add kidney disease to the list of health problems associated with air pollution.

A team of scientists from Washington University in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System found an association between tiny particulate matter and kidney disease in two different data sets.

The scientists compared Veteran Affairs data on kidney disease with data on air pollution from two separate sets: satellite data from NASA and information from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Their study consistently found that risk of kidney disease rose along with air pollution levels across the continental United States.

As might be expected, many of the areas of the U.S. at greatest risk tend to be more heavily populated. The part of the country with the lowest risk overall is a section that runs roughly from Montana through West Texas. There are pockets of lower-risk areas in other places, but much of California and the Eastern half of the United States are more vulnerable.

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