Air pollution has long been linked to health problems such as respiratory diseases, and recent studies have linked it to symptoms of mental illness,media New Atlas reported. Now, new research reinforces the theory that air pollution can also cause osteoporosis.
In a recent study, scientists from the Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Barcelona, Spain, assessed outdoor air quality in 28 villages near the Indian city of Hyderabad. They are particularly interested in the levels of suspended fine particulate matter and black carbon. The researchers analyzed the bone health of 3,717 residents in those villages. The researchers used a technique called a dual-energy X-ray bone density meter to measure the amount of bone in the lumbar spine and left hip.
The data was collected over a four-year period from 2009 to 2012. During this period, residents also filled out questionnaires about the types of cooking fuels they used in the interior. The end result was that the villagers were exposed to an average of 32.8 micrograms per cubic meter per year. This is well above the World Health Organization’s recommended maximum of 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
Importantly, the researchers also noted that the higher the outdoor air pollution levels in a village, the lower the bone mineral content and mineral density of its inhabitants. However, there is no correlation between bone mass and cooking fuels for cooking using biomass such as wood.
Dr Otavio T. Ranzani, lead author of the isglobal study, said: “This study provides a limited and uncertain basis for literature on air pollution and bone health. Inhalation of contaminated particles can lead to bone loss due to oxidative stress and inflammation caused by air pollution. “
The paper was recently published in the journal Jama Network Open.