How does CKDnT relate to climate change?

A man mines salt in the panning operations of Marakannum, Tamil Nadu, India.
(Photo: Tom Laffay)

As global temperatures rise due to climate change, heavy laborers are exposed to heat stress and dehydration more regularly and more severely, likely putting them at greater risk of CKDnT.

Occupational risks related to workload and heat stress include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and rhabdomyolysis.

HEAT STROKE is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature. Symptoms may include confusion; fainting; seizures; very high body temperature; hot, dry skin; or profuse sweating. Heat stroke can be fatal.

HEAT EXHAUSTION is also serious. Symptoms may include: headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst, and heavy sweating.

RHABDOMYOLYSIS is a condition where heat stress and prolonged physical exertion causes the breakdown of muscle. This causes proteins to be released into the bloodstream and can lead to weakness, muscle cramps, irregular heart rhythms and seizures, and kidney damage.

Dehydration could also lead to what is known as higher osmolarity in the kidney. This condition can result in higher concentrations of toxins in workers than would be found in a properly rested and hydrated person.

La Isla Network is investigating the impact of exposures to toxins on workers at risk of CKDnT in concert with the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-NIOSH) and academic institutions.

Heat stroke and rhabdomyolysis have been linked to CKDnT and acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI overtime could culminate in CKDnT.

Regardless of CKDnT, these conditions are dangerous and should be mitigated by providing workers with water, rest, and shade.

The WE Program

The CKDnT risk factors related to heat stress, workload, dehydration and climate change must be better understood in order to protect workers.

La Isla Network’s Worker Health & Efficiency (WE) Program brings together industry leaders and expert scientists to develop strategies to protect workforces at risk of the dangers of extreme heat and CKDnT.

Temperatures rising due to climate change could cost global economies more than $2 trillion by 2030, according to United Nations research. The human cost of climate change and CKDnT has yet to be projected.