Air pollution could cause brittle bone disease, according to new research.
A study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health that analyzed data on more than nine million people enrolled in Medicare in the Northeastern US is the first to find a link between traffic fumes and fractures caused by osteoporosis.
In the US, 9 million men and have osteoporosis, leading to a bone fracture every three seconds, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.
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 200 million people around the world.
Senior author Dr Andrea Baccarelli, an environmental health scientist at Columbia University, New York, 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 benefits of clean air, our research suggests, are improved bone health and a way to prevent bone fractures.’