Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found high levels of toxins and a kidney injury biomarker in children in Mexico exposed to contaminated water. Urine samples of 107 children revealed arsenic and chromium at extremely high levels, well above the safety limits for adults. The arsenic probably came from contaminated tap water, but more research is needed to determine the source of the chromium. While the children tested normal for the usual kidney disease biomarkers, their urine samples contained elevated levels of a more sensitive new biomarker, KIM-1 (Kidney Injury Molecule-1), which is believed to be an early indicator of kidney injury. According to senior author, Vishal Vaidya, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “KIM-1 may be an early warning sign of exposure, suggesting that something may be beginning to go wrong in the epithelial cells in the kidneys of these children. Many questions remain to be answered: we don’t know if this effect might be reversible, we don’t know if there are other kidney toxic contaminants such as uranium present as well…” Continued study of these children could help scientists track contamination sources, determine the impact of short and long-term toxin exposure, and find ways to limit exposure to avoid further injury.
Kidney Toxins and Kidney Injury Biomarker Detected in Children, MedicalXpress, July 18, 2016