Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, February 2019, Volume 2, #45
There is an association between PM2.5 concentration in air pollution and chronic kidney disease incidence. The question that comes to mind is, what is PM2.5 and how could it cause damage that leads to chronic kidney disease? Particulate matters (PM) are solids or liquid droplets or a mixture of both. They are technically called aerosols when suspended in the air or another gas. PM2.5 are particulate matters with aerodynamic diameter lesser than 2.5µm. PM2.5 lingers in the air for an extended period than larger particle sizes, e.g., PM10. What does this mean? Human is exposed to PM2.5 more than PM10, penetrate more into the human body and blood. The human body filters the PM2.5 in the blood with the kidney. The kidney does self-cleaning of its filters to reduce the clogging effect. However, during exposure to high PM2.5 concentration, there is a high chance of having more PM2.5 residues on the kidney. The toxicity and reactivity of the biological or chemical contaminants the PM2.5 constitute will determine the extent to which the functional performance of the kidney cells will be disrupted. The dysfunctional performance or even the death of the human cells will cause kidney tissue damage and lead to kidney disease.
To reduce the risk of having a damaged kidney, reducing exposure to, and intake of PM2.5 in the outdoor and indoor environment is essential. Dust, construction, and combustion activities are primary sources of PM2.5. Chemical and biological contaminants associated with PM2.5 will determine the PM2.5 toxicity. Reduction of the origins or emission of the PM2.5 and chemical and biological pollutants will reduce the vulnerability of having a damaged kidney. Measures taken to minimize exposure and intake will also reduce the risk. The usual thinking is to stay in the indoor environment when the outdoor environment is highly polluted. However, this may prove to be of little benefit if there is high outdoor to indoor transport of pollutants. Effort should be made to mitigate this.
Poor building design, construction, and maintenance and operation will make it difficult to achieve the mitigation. What does this understanding mean to policymakers, building owners, occupants, and people responsible for delivering energy-efficient and healthy indoor environment?
Do you want to know more about this topic? Read the Andreau et al. (2012), Bowe et al. (2018) and Bragg-Gresham et al. (2018) papers.