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Land contamination and renal dysfunction
  1. L Jarup
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr L Jarup, The Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Imperial College London, Faculty of Medicine, St Mary’s Campus, 16 South Wharf Road, London W2 1PF, UK; 

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Cause for concern?

L and contaminated by current or historical industrial activity is common in many countries, and the influence of soil pollutants on the environment often causes concern. It has been recognised that not only may the quality of the environment suffer as a consequence of the pollution, but there may also be specific problems for human health associated with contaminated land, as well as a consequent economic burden.1

During recent decades it has become increasingly obvious that the kidney is adversely affected by an array of chemicals.2 Human exposure to (nephrotoxic) chemicals may result from industrial emissions and other environmental pollution, from several naturally occurring substances as well as from medicines. Some of these chemicals may cause acute injury to the kidneys, whereas others may result in chronic renal damage and eventually end stage renal failure. For example, a recent Swedish study showed excess risk of end stage renal disease (ESRD) in a population living in the vicinity of cadmium emitting battery plants.3

A paper by Staples et al, in this issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, reports on signs of kidney tubular dysfunction in persons exposed to hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD).4 The findings …

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