Is air pollution linked to cancer? Study says yes

The study included more than 600,000 adults in the US who participated in the Cancer Prevention Study II and who were followed for 22 years (from 1982 to 2004).  

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Nov 01, 2017, 14:25 PM IST
Is air pollution linked to cancer? Study says yes
(Representational image)

New Delhi: With air pollution wreaking havoc in countries across the globe, health concerns have risen considerably.

While numerous studies have associated pollution with heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest and even death, a new large-scale prospective study has linked it with cancer mortality beyond lung cancer.

The study, led by the Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by the "la Caixa" Foundation, and the American Cancer Society, observed an association between some air pollutants and mortality from kidney, bladder and colorectal cancer.

The study included more than 600,000 adults in the US who participated in the Cancer Prevention Study II and who were followed for 22 years (from 1982 to 2004). The scientific team examined associations of mortality from cancer at 29 sites with long-term residential exposure to three ambient pollutants: PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3).

Over 43,000 non-lung cancer deaths were registered among the participants. PM2,5was associated with mortality from kidney and bladder cancer, with a 14 and 13% increase, respectively, for each 4.4 µg/m3 increase in exposure. In turn, exposure to NO2 was associated with colorectal cancer death, with a 6% increase per each 6.5 ppb increment. No significant associations were observed with cancer at other sites.

First author Michelle Turner explained that although a number of studies associate lung cancer with air pollution, there is still little evidence for associations at other cancer sites. "This research suggests that air pollution was not associated with death from most non lung cancers, but the associations with kidney, bladder and colorectal cancer deserve further investigation," she added.

The study is published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

(With ANI inputs)