A new study released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, based in Lyon, France, has formally declared what many medical experts have long suspected: that air pollution causes lung cancer.
The study points an accusing finger at a variety of sources, including the coal-burning power plants of China, the widespread agricultural operations of California – and the diesel cars and trucks found all over the world.
“The air most people breathe has become polluted with a complicated mixture of cancer-causing substances,” said IARC department chief Kurt Straif told the Associated Press, warning that air pollution is now considered to create a more serious risk of lung cancer than second-hand cigarette smoke.
The agency, which is the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, contends more than 220,000 people around the world died in 2010 due to cancers arising from air pollution.
The new IARC study follows up on earlier reports that warned about the risk of specific types of air pollution. It contends that pollutants have become so ever-present that in many parts of the world the simple act of breathing puts people at risk for not just lung but possibly other cancers including that of the bladder.
“People can certainly contribute by doing things like not driving a big diesel car, but this needs much wider policies by national and international authorities,” Straif said.
A major concern is the presence of so-called particulates, super-fine particles of soot and other substances that can find their way deep into the lungs. That’s been a particular concern for those who oppose the expanded use of diesels.
) - Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 - filed under News
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