Industrial and Environmental Toxicants Causing Nephrotoxicity

Published: 2023-01-03
Industrial and Environmental Toxicants Causing Nephrotoxicity
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Policy Strategy Research
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 963 words
9 min read

AbstractKidney disease is becoming a progressive disease that is usually characterized by the permanent loss of the functional nephrons. It is seen to be brought about by toxins which are caused by environmental and industrial pollution. The Kidney has concentrating capabilities and performs excretory functions; therefore, it is easily attacked by the effects of environmental toxins. The main aim of this research is to point out the kind toxicants that cause nephrotoxicity. The study showed that environmental and industrial pollutions are the main causes of nephrotoxicity. In this regard, emphasis on creating awareness on the threats of these environmental toxins should be put in place to prevent and control kidney related diseases.

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Keywords: Environmental toxins, nephrotoxicity, kidney diseases, safety measures.

Human beings continuously face harmful conditions both in the usual and occupational environments. The environment, which is the surrounding of a human being, plant or an animal can sometimes be polluted and contain toxins. These pollutions can cause environmental problems which can be physical for example increase temperature and dehydration, biological problems, for example, bacteria and viruses and can also be chemical problems e.g. organic and inorganic. (Parrish, 2017). The kidney, which is responsible for maintaining body homeostasis and waste management, is at a high risk of being affected by this kind of toxics. Nephrotoxicity is toxicity in the kidney. Below is a discussion on the toxins damaging the kidney based on an article; Environmental pollution and kidney diseases by Leslie Spry.


Metals are major effects of kidney diseases. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium may have been linked to water or food. It is possible to get in contact with lead from water or from an old lead piping. (Parrish, 2017). People who work in industries for example in the manufacture of lead or recycling of batteries are at a high risk of being exposed to gout with a kidney complication referred to as saturnine gout. Cadmium can be found in cigarette smoke or in rice grown in soil with cadmium. Lead, cadmium, and mercury are examples of metals that affect the kidney.

Pesticides and herbicides contain toxics affecting the kidney. Farmworkers and industrial workers have been linked to kidney diseases because of the kind of exposure they get from herbicides and pesticides (Spry, 2019). Herbicides and pesticides can greatly damage the kidney.

Cigarette smoke can cause nephrotoxicity. Smoking and second-hand smoke from cigarettes have been found to increase the risk of kidney diseases (Spry, 2019) Tobacco smoke increases the risk of acquiring bladder and kidney cancer. It is also linked to heart diseases. Cigarette smoke can cause kidney cancer.

Air pollution can affect the kidney. According to a report by the American society of nephrology, it is clear that air pollution increases the chances of getting kidney diseases and chronic kidney disease (CKD). A study done by St. Louis VA medical center showed that as air pollution increase by just ten mg for any amount of air we breathe, there was 25-37% rise in total sum of people with emerging diseases affecting kidneys, a thirty six percent rise in the damage of kidney functions and a thirty one percent rise in danger of kidney loss leading to dialysis (Spry, 2019) There were many cases of CDK that were highlighted and very many patients started dialysis at the time of the study. It is clear that air pollution affects the functions of the kidney.

Some plants and herbs contain toxins that damage the kidney. There are plants and herbs that may contain aristolochic acid or nephrotoxic phytochemicals (Spry, 2019). These kinds of plants contain chemicals and when consumed they bring about interstitial nephritis and CDK. The herbs containing aristolochic acid have been related to epidemics of CDK. There is a connection between certain herbs and plants and kidney diseases.

Melamine can damage the functions of the kidney. Melamine is a strong aromatic heterocyclic base that is manufactured out from the urine with an acid called cyanic. Melamine is unlawfully added to food to deceptively increase protein levels. Intense toxics of melamine usually affect the kidney. (Clinic kidney journal, 2017) Animals which are exposed to melamine end up suffering from urinary crystal formation. The effects of renal tabular crystals and renal stone formation are the regularly reported complications that are affected by melamine overload. Melamine can easily damage the functions of the kidney.


Kidneys play an important role in our bodies. It provides a balance ionic composition, volume, and pH among other things. As seen, the environment and industrial output have significant effects on the cause of kidney related problems. From the findings, we can be able to draw recommendations that can be used in the field of safety to ensure that no one dies or suffers from nephrotoxicity (Tenore, 2010). An example of a safety measure is ensuring that workers in farms or industries are wearing protective clothing when working. Another way to prevent and control toxins from affecting us is by keeping our air clean. This can be done by avoiding the burning of chemicals out in the air more so close to residential areas. Also, we should avoid direct contact with metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium.


It is very clear that our bodies are greatly challenged by the industrial and environmental toxins. These toxins from cigarette smoke, certain metals, certain plants and herbs, melamine, pesticides and herbicides and from air pollution have been seen to affect the functions of the kidney. In order to minimize and prevent kidney related diseases, these toxins causing nephrotoxicity can be prevented and controlled by implementing the safety measures discussed above.


Clinic kidney journal. (2017). Environmental toxin-induced acute kidney injury.

Parrish A. (2017). Chronic Kidney Disease and Exposure to Nephrotoxic Metals.

Spry L. (2019). Environmental Pollution and Kidney Disease.

Tenore, P. L. (2010). Advanced urine toxicology testing. Journal of addictive diseases, 29(4), 436-448.

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Industrial and Environmental Toxicants Causing Nephrotoxicity. (2023, Jan 03). Retrieved from

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