Air pollution can lead to poor bone health: Study

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 04, 2020 Published on January 04, 2020

Representational image only   -  Reuters

A study of over 3,700 people living in 28 villages around Hyderabad has shown that there is strong association between exposure to air pollution and poor bone health.

Earlier studies have linked increased air pollution to respiratory illnesses, strong and cardiovascular problems.

The study carried by researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition of the Indian Council of Medical Research and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that the exposure to ambient air pollution, particularly to fine particles, was associated with lower levels of bone mass. No correlation was found with use of biomass fuel for cooking, the scientists said in a paper appeared in JAMA Network Open, a journal brought out recently by the American Medical Association.

The authors used a locally-developed model to estimate outdoor exposure at residence to air pollution by fine particulate matter (suspended particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometre (μg) or less) and black carbon. The participants also filled a questionnaire on the type of fuel used for cooking. The authors linked this information with bone health assessed using a special type of radiography that measures bone density, called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and measured bone mass at the lumbar spine and the left hip.

“This study contributes to the limited and inconclusive literature on air pollution and bone health," explained Otavio Ranzani, a researcher with the Barcelona Institute and first author of the study, in a statement. According to him, inhalation of small particulate pollutants could be leading to bone mass loss through the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by air pollution.

Annual average exposure to ambient PM2.5 was found to be 32.8 μg/m3, far above the maximum levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (10 μg/m3). nearly 58 per cent of participants used biomass fuel for cooking.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of the bone is reduced. Globally, it is responsible for a substantial burden of disease and its prevalence is expected to increase due to aging of the population. The study was carried out under the Clinton Health Access Initiative

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Published on January 04, 2020
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