Study Finds Outdoor Air Pollution May Increase Non-Lung Cancer Risk

Air PollutionAir pollution has been considered as a risk factor for lung cancer and a link to breast cancer risk is also emerging. But, few studies have looked into the effects on air pollution on prostate, colorectal and endometrial cancer risk as well. A new study has heen conducted by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and was published in Environmental Epidemiology. According to this study, they found that exposures to PM2.5 and NO2 for over 10 year period increased the risk of developing colorectal and prostate cancers. They also found that even low levels of air pollution exposure may make people susceptible to developing these cancers.

Yaguang Wei, research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health said, “Our findings uncover the biological plausibility of air pollution as a crucial risk factor in the development of specific cancers, bringing us one step closer to understanding the impact of air pollution on human health.”

Air Pollution | Lung CancerIn this study, the researchers have analyzed data from national Medicare beneficiaries who are aged 65 or older collected from 2000 to 2016. All those were cancer-free for at least initial 10 years of the study period. They developed a predictive map of PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations all across the United States. Their findings showed that chronic exposures increased the risk of developing colorectal and prostate cancers. NO2 exposure was associated with increased risk of breast cancer. They also noted that even communities with clean air were not immune to cancer risk. Separate analyses looked at risk of cancer under impacts of air pollutants for various subgroups by different factors like age, sex, average BMI, socioeconomic status etc.

Study Senior Author Joel Schwartz, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Harvard, said, “The key message here is that US air pollution standards are inadequate in protecting public health.” “Unless all of these standards become much, much stricter, air pollution will continue to result in thousands of unnecessary cases of multiple cancers each year,” he added.

The information shared in this blog is for educational purposes only.

Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Twitter today and never miss out an update!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.