How smog could negatively affect your bones

Air pollution not only raises the risk of lung cancer, stroke and respiratory diseases, but it is also bad for your bones, a new study suggests.

The study, done in India, looked at more than 3 700 people from 28 villages outside the city of Hyderabad.

Limited and inconclusive literature

The researchers estimated exposure of fine particulate air pollution and asked participants what fuel they used for cooking. Fine particulate air pollution consists of tiny particles measuring 2.5 micrometres and also black carbon.

Particle levels in the area were far higher than the maximum recommended by the World Health Organization, researchers said.

They then compared this information with bone density in participants' lumbar spine and left hip.

The conclusion: Exposure to high levels of fine particulate matter was linked to lower bone mass.

"This study contributes to the limited and inconclusive literature on air pollution and bone health," researcher Otavio Ranzani said in a news release.

He's a postdoctoral fellow at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain.

"Inhalation of polluting particles could lead to bone mass loss through the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by air pollution," Ranzani added.

The report was published online in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Image credit: iStock

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