Friday, October 18, 2013

WHO: Air Pollution Causes Cancer

Posted By on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 10:25 AM

New research has confirmed what many had already feared: Air pollution is a leading cause of cancer.

The World Health Organization's cancer research agency announced Thursday that new evidence indicates the air we all breathe is laced with cancer-causing substances and is being officially classified as carcinogenic to humans.

That ranks air pollution alongside more than 100 other known cancer-causing substances such as asbestos, plutonium, tobacco smoke, silica dust and ultraviolet radiation.

"Our task was to evaluate the air everyone breathes rather than focus on specific air pollutants," Dana Loomis, deputy with the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 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."

IARC had previously deemed some of the components in air pollution such as diesel fumes to be carcinogens, but this is the first time it has classified air pollution in its entirety as cancer causing.

Researchers said the risk to the individual is low, but the main sources of pollution are widespread, including transportation, power plants, and industrial and agricultural emissions.

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