Friday, October 18, 2013
Polluted air we're breathing is giving us cancer, confirms WHO Outdoor air pollution has been classified as a carcinogenic, ie, as cancer-causing, by the cancer branch of the World Health Organisation. Air pollution from traffic and industrial fumes was a definite cause of lung cancer and also linked to bladder cancer, according to theInternational Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). "The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances," said Dr Kurt Straif, head of the IARC monographs section, which assesses evidence and publishes official warnings to the Guardian . "We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths," he said. Air pollution was already known to increase the risks for a range of diseased amongst humans, especially respiratory and heart diseases. Studies have shown that in 2010, there were 2,23,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide were a result of air pollution. But this is the first time that air pollution has been so conclusively linked to cancer. It gains special relevance when it comes from the IARC, which collects copious amounts of proof before making connections. The study's findings are based on information collected from the independent review of more than a 1,000 review papers, based on research studies across five continents. The studies also analysed the carcinogenic qualities of various pollutants individually.