Medic urges people to walk or cycle after new research

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A health expert is urging Sheffielders to ditch the car and travel by bike or on foot instead – after research suggested traffic pollution may damage kidneys.

Dr Tim Chico, of Sheffield University Medical School’s cardiovascular science department, spoke out after scientists who tested 1,100 stroke patients found a link between reduced kidney function and living close to a road.

They believe kidney damage may be an indicator of artery disease, due to long-term exposure to air pollution.

Half of those tested lived within one kilometre of a major road, with the rest between one and 10km away from heavy traffic.

Dr Chico said: “The responsibility to reduce traffic pollution falls on everyone and this study is yet another reason to travel on foot or bike where possible.

“However, the current study only shows an ‘association,’ it does not prove living next to road definitely affects kidney function.

“Many people are unaware of the close link between heart and kidney disease, but problems with one often lead to problems with the other.

“Since we know traffic pollution increases the risk of heart disease, the message of this study – that traffic pollution might damage the kidneys – is perhaps to be expected.”