Field studies in epidemiology and environmental geochemistry in areas in Yugoslavia containing villages with a high incidence of Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN), indicate a possible relationship between the presence of low-rank coal deposits and the etiology of BEN. Preliminary results from qualitative chemical analyses of drinking water from shallow farm wells indicate the presence of soluble polar aromatic and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. These compounds may be derived from weathering of low-rank coals occurring in the vicinity of the endemic villages. All of the endemic villages are in alluvial valleys of tributaries to the Danube River. All except one of the clusters of endemic villages are located in the vicinity of known Pliocene age coals. Detailed sampling of the drinking waters and the nearby coals are being undertaken to identify a possible etiologic factor.
Additional publication details
Relationship between weathered coal deposits and the etiology of Balkan endemic nephropathy