The Road Ahead for Research on Air Pollution and Kidney Disease

WashU affiliated authors: Ziyad Al-Aly (Dept. of Medicine, Institute of Public Health)

Article introduction: Over the past several years, substantial progress has been made in understanding the relationship between exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution and risk of kidney disease. We and others have reported that increased levels of PM2.5—even at concentrations below the US National Ambient Air Quality Standards of an annual average of 12.0 μg/m3—were associated with increased risk of incident CKD, CKD progression, and ESKD. A systematic evaluation of all causes of death associated with PM2.5 exposure revealed a significant relationship between PM2.5 and risk of death due to kidney disease. Effort to estimate the burden of kidney disease attributable to PM2.5 air pollution suggested that the global burden of CKD attributable to PM2.5 may be substantial and disproportionally borne by low-income and lower middle–income countries.