Air pollution causing lung cancer; new evidence suggests bladder cancer as well
Risk found to be similar to breathing in second-hand tobacco smoke
The World Health Organization's cancer agency says that the very air that we breathe causes cancer. Carcinogenic substances is commonly found on the air we breathe on the street and at home, a frightening new study says. IN some parts of the world, taking a stroll along a typical street is just as bad as breathing in second-hand smoke.
"Our task was to evaluate the air everyone breathes rather than focus on specific air pollutants," deputy head Dana Loomis said in a statement. "The results from the reviewed studies point in the same direction: the risk of developing lung cancer is significantly increased in people exposed to air pollution."
Air pollution or “smog” is chiefly the result of gasoline-powered transportation such as cars, buses and trucks; power generation, industrial or agricultural emissions and residential heating and cooking. Bad air days increase a wide range of respiratory illnesses such as asthma, respiratory and heart diseases.
Countries with large populations going through increased industrialization such as China has caused toxic levels of air pollution to rise.
Thousands of studies on air pollution tracking populations over decades and other research such as those in which mice exposed to polluted air experienced increased numbers of lung tumors were cited in the new study.
Air pollution and "particulate matter" - a major component of it - would now be classified among its Group 1 human carcinogens, the group said. This includes such common materials as asbestos, plutonium, silica dust, ultraviolet radiation and tobacco smoke.
Loomis wishes to remind others that air pollution is highly variable over space and time. There is relatively high exposure in Asia, South Asia, eastern North America, some places in Central America and Mexico as well as North Africa. The composition and levels of air pollution can vary dramatically from one location to the next.
"Our conclusion is that this is a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths," Dr. Christopher Wild, director of IARC said in a news briefing in Geneva.
IARC's ranking monographs program, sometimes known as the "encyclopedia of carcinogens,” aims to be an authoritative source of scientific evidence on cancer-causing substances, classifying many chemicals and mixtures that can be components of air pollution, including diesel engine exhaust, solvents, metals and dusts.
This is the very first time that experts have classified air pollution as a cause of cancer.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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