Exposure to silicon dioxide linked to chronic kidney disease

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By David Liu, PHD

Saturday Aug 18, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Nanoparticles have been known to damage DNA and can potentially cause mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. Occupational exposure to silicon dioxide or silica is actually recognized as a carcinogen.  A new study now suggests that occupational exposure to silica may cause chronic kidney disease as well.

The study led by  Suma Vupputuri of Kaiser Permanente Georgia in Atlanta, GA, USA and colleagues showed that any exposure to silicon dioxide was associated with a 40 percent increased risk for chronic kidney disease.

Exposure to silicon dioxide has been linked to high risk for chronic kidney disease, but not all studies are consistent. For the current study, the researchers analysed data from a population-based case-control study of occupational silicon dioxide exposure and chronic kidney disease. Participants were aged 30 to 83 with a mean age at 63 years.

The exposure duration was longer in those with chronic kidney disease than that for those who were exposed but did not suffer the disease, 33.4 years versus 24.8 years. This means longer exposure poses a bigger risk for developing chronic kidney disease.

Compared to controls who were not exposed to silicon dioxide, those who had exposure for shorter than the media duration of silica exposure were at 20 percent increased risk for chronic kidney disease and those who had longer than the media duration were at 76 percent increased risk.

 The researchers concluded occupational silicon dioxide exposure was positively associated with chronic kidney disease and the association depended on the cumulative dosage with high doses linked to higher risks for the disease.

Nanoparticles such as silicon dioxide or silica or titanium dioxide are commonly used in foods, dietary supplements and cosmetic products.  Research has found that these nanoparticles can travel to major organs like the kidneys and they can enter cells and disrupt DNA.  Because of this, ingested nanoparticles may be as damaging as inhaled nanoparticles.

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