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Heating Climates Causing Kidney Problems

A mysterious and deadly kidney disease has been plaguing labourers in thesugar fields of Central America. In the past 20 years, some 20,000 workers have died of the disease, and the crisis has been growing worse.

At first the epidemic was thought to be caused by chemicals such as pesticides, but the disease only affected labourers in coastal areas – those working at higher altitude in hills were largely unaffected.

A recent study found that hard work in the hot climate of the lowlands left workers dehydrated, putting such a heavy strain on their kidneys that it fatally damaged them. “When it’s extremely hot, the risk for kidney damage really begins to become evident,” said Richard Johnson of the University of Colorado, Denver.

Chris Goldberg


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