Pollution Could Cause Arthritis

By: Jill Cordes
By: Jill Cordes

Too much exposure to pollution isn't good for you. We've known that for a long time. But a new study says there might be a surprising link between pollution and arthritis.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that women living near a major road may be at an elevated risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

The study looked at the incidence of the disease among 90,000 women. Those women who lived within 130 feet of an interstate or a major, multi-lane road were 31 percent more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis than women whose homes were more than 500 feet away from a major roadway.

Researchers say that exposure to particulate air pollution leads to changes in the blood, which may be behind this finding.

This is the first study of its kind, and researchers say it needs further investigation. But this study suggests that auto emissions and other forms of pollution may be affecting our health in ways we hadn't considered.

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