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Air Pollutants from Ground Zero May be Linked to Kidney Disease

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study shows a possible connection between air pollutants at Ground Zero and kidney disease.

The study, from the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, analyzed urine samples from more than 180 first responders. The researchers said that pollutants in the air at the site -- including smoke, glass fibers, and cement dust -- can be linked to kidney damage in some of these workers.

Mary Ann McLaughlin, Medical Director of the cardiac health program at Mt. Sinai, told ABC News that anybody who spent significant time at the site should talk to a doctor.

"I would advise 9/11 responders that if they really had the highest exposure -- were there for more than 90 days and really inhaled a lot of particles -- that they contact their doctor about looking at their urine to see if they have signs of early disease... Some people have no symptoms and actually have no knowledge that their kidneys are starting to have problems," McLaughlin said.

But McLaughlin told ABC News that it is still too early to know for sure that the two are linked.

"Since we've published this data, we have another few hundred patients in our cohort, and our plan is to look at the broader scope of the 9/11 responders," McLaughlin said.

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