AIR pollution has been named as the leading cause of lung cancer, the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency said.
The International Agency for Research for Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organisation (WHO), announced that there is “sufficient evidence”
that exposure to
air pollution is a key cause of lung cancer.
Data revealed by the IARC showed that in 2010, 223,000 deaths worldwide from lung cancer were caused by air pollution.The IARC has now classified air pollution in the same category as tobacco smoke, UV radiation and plutonium in an attempt to send a message to governments to force
them to take action.
The news comes as people continue to live in a growing atmosphere of smog, with car emissions, residential heating and fumes from power stations just a few of the key
contributors to air pollution.
Dr Kurt Straif, of IARC said: “The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances.”
“We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.”
Studies have shown that exposure levels have increased heavily in some parts of the world as part of rapid industrialistion in developing countries.
And the IARC confirmed that outside fumes have also been linked to bladder cancer.
IARC director Dr Christopher Wild said that it is “an important step” classifying outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic – related directly to causing cancer
He said: “There are effective ways to reduce air pollution and, given the scale of the exposure affecting people worldwide, this report should send a strong signal to
the international community to take action without further delay.”
The agency said its results were based on a worldwide study despite levels of air pollution varying across the globe.
Air pollution has been commonly linked with increasing risks of respiratory and heart diseases.
Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK said: “Cancer Research UK wants the Government and relevant authorities to introduce measures that
reduce air pollution to levels within EU limits to protect people’s health. ”
Dr Sharp said it is important to keep the risk of air pollution “in perspective”.
She said: “Although air pollution increases the risk of developing lung cancer by a small amount, other things have a much bigger effect on our risk, particularly
-With express.co.uk input