There is little escaping the latest human carcinogen: polluted air.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is claiming that in 2010, polluted air caused 223,000 people to die from lung cancer worldwide.
It is likely also a cause of some bladder cancers, too.
The effects of air pollution
According to Kurt Straif, head of the agency's section that ranks carcinogens, the air pollution in some parts of the world is as bad as secondhand tobacco smoke exposure.
Said deputy head Dana Loomis in a statement:
Our task was to evaluate the air everyone breathes rather than focus on specific air pollutants. 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.
The source of the pollution is nothing new: transportation emissions, power generation, residential heating and cooking, and industrial or agricultural emissions.
This polluted air has already been linked to heart disease and lung disease.
Thus after reviewing several thousand studies related to air pollution across a number of decades, the IARC declared that air pollution and one of the primary components of that pollution, particulate matter, would be classified as Group 1 human carcinogens.
In doing so, air pollution now joins a list that includes tobacco smoke, asbestos, plutonium and UV radiation, among about 100 others.
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