A new study coming from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, based in Lyon, France, has officially declared what many medical experts already suspected: air pollution causes lung cancer.
The study points towards many sources, including the coal-burning power plants in China, the widespread agricultural operations of California – but also the diesel cars and trucks driven around the globe.
“The air most people breathe has become polluted with a complicated mixture of cancer-causing substances,” said IARC department chief Kurt Straif. “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 added.
The agency, which is the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, says more than 220,000 people around the world died in 2010 because of cancers that were triggered by air pollution. The new IARC study also comes after earlier reports that signaled the risks associated with different types of air pollution. The research found that pollutants are now a part of every-day life in many parts of the world – the simple act of breathing there actually endangers people not just for lung but possibly other cancers. A major warning is highlighted towards the presence of so-called particulates, super-fine particles of soot and other substances that can enter deep into the lungs.