Study finds common pollutant in the environment may harm your kidneys
Researchers who reviewed 74 studies conducted over 28 years on a widely used environmental pollutant have found evidence that the chemicals may contribute to poor kidney health.
Kidney News Online reports on the analysis, which reviewed studies on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. These stain- and grease-repelling chemicals are widely used in textiles, papers, food packaging and fire-fighting foams. PFAS do not biodegrade and have recently been found on military bases and in public water supplies, and in soil, air, and water in all regions of the world.
One of the researchers, nephrologist Dr. John Stanifer, is an alumnus of the American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist in Nephrology program and a clinical researcher at Duke University. Dr. Stanifer notes that because the kidneys are such sensitive organs, it’s vital to understand how environmental pollutants like PFAS may contribute to kidney disease.
Dr. Stanifer and his colleagues found many adverse outcomes linked to exposure to PFAS, because the kidneys are the primary means by which the body eliminates these chemicals. They discovered that some of the studies had already suggested that PFAS are associated with worse kidney outcomes.
Of particular concern, according to the article, is the fact that children have greater exposure to PFAS than adults. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body—meaning they do not break down and can accumulate over time. PFAS are found in a wide range of consumer products that people use daily such as cookware, pizza boxes and stain repellants.
Read the full Kidney News Online story or the abstract of the study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.