In a University of Queensland research, a routinely used herbicide was linked to an elevated risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Using data from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers looked examined the associations between pesticide exposure and the risk of renal disease in 41,847 adults (NHANES).
According to Nicholas Osborne, an associate professor at the School of Public Health, those who were exposed to greater levels of the insecticide Malathion, also known as Maldison in Australia, had a 25% higher risk of renal failure.
“In high-income nations, about one out of every ten persons shows indications of CKD, which is lifelong kidney damage and loss of renal function,” Dr. Osborne added.
Age, hypertension, and diabetes are all risk factors for developing CKD.
CKD with no known etiology, according to Dr. Osborne, is on the rise in low-to-middle-income nations like India, Sri Lanka, and Mesoamerica.
“At first, it was thought that the disease was linked to agricultural industries because of heat stress, dehydration, pesticide spraying, heavy metals, and agrochemicals,” Dr. Osborne added.
“However, CKD may be exacerbated by environmental exposure, pesticide residues, and herbal treatments containing heavy metals.”
Although the reason of increased CKD is unclear, pesticide spraying without personal protective equipment (PPE) and working with polluted soil have been postulated as possible exposure routes.
The UQ research, according to Dr. Osborne, was the first to show a relationship between Malathion and the likelihood of poor kidney health in individuals.
“The results show that we should restrict our exposure to pesticides, even in very tiny amounts,” Dr. Osborne said, “since persistent exposure may result in bad health effects.”
“We’ll keep looking at if additional pesticides are involved, and we’re aiming to collect data on Sri Lankan farmer behavior to see how much they’re exposed to pesticides in the field.”
Malathion is a pesticide that may be found in certain topical head lice treatments and is approved for use in agricultural, household, and public leisure areas as part of mosquito and fruit fly eradication efforts.