Air pollution linked to weaker bones, fractures and increased risk of an early death
Air pollution could cause brittle bone disease, a c c o rding to new research. A study by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health that analyzed data on more than 9mn people enrolled in Medicare in the Northeastern US is the first to find a link between traffic fumes and frac- tures caused by osteoporosis.
The study linked pollution exposure to low levels of parathyroid hormone, which regulates calcium production, leading to weaker bones and more hospitalizations for fractures. Smog-filled towns and cities have been linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, acute respiratory diseases such as asthma and even dementia. But this study is the first to link air pollution to the degradation of the weakened bones of 200mn people around the world.
Senior author Dr. Andrea Baccarelli, an environmental health scientist at Columbia University, said: 'Decades of careful research has documented the health risks of air pollution, from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, to cancer, and impaired cognition, and now osteoporosis. Among the many ben- efits of clean air, our research suggests, are improved bone health and a way to prevent bone fractures.'
Her study found hospital admissions for bone fractures were higher in communities with elevated levels of tiny atmospheric particles called PM2.5s. They come mainly from vehicle exhausts.
The findings were published in The Lancet Planetary Health.