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Very common environmental pollutants damage kidney health

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are non-biodegradable compounds used to manufacture a wide variety of consumer products and are pollutants that are found all over the environment. But now, a new study has found that they may cause kidney damage and poor kidney function.

The likelihood of PFAS exposure is extremely high due to how much of the pollutants have contaminated the environment, water, and atmosphere.

Researchers from Duke University recently conducted a study reviewing 74 studies on PFAS exposure and kidney health to better understand how the pollutants affect our health and wellbeing.

The results of the Duke University analysis were published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Given how prevalent PFAS are in the environment, it’s important to know if they contribute to health problems or increase the risk of certain diseases and health problems.

“The kidneys are very sensitive organs, particularly when it comes to environmental toxins that can get in our bloodstream,” said John Stanifer, the lead author of the study. “Because so many people are now exposed to these PFAS chemicals, and to the newer, increasingly-produced alternative PFAS agents such as GenX, it is critical to understand if and how these chemicals may be contributing to kidney disease.”

Of the 74 studies, the researchers found PFAS exposure correlated with a deterioration of kidney function, derangements in the proximal tubules (the resorptive structure of the kidney), and unregulated metabolic pathways linked to kidney disease.

The researchers also found that children are more exposed to PFAS than adults and in greater quantities.

“By searching all the known studies published on the topic, we concluded that there are several potential ways in which these chemicals can cause kidney damage,” said Stanifer. “Further, we discovered that there have already been multiple reports suggesting that these chemicals are associated with worse kidney outcomes.”

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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