Air Pollution Is a Leading Cause of Cancer, WHO Says

Outdoor air pollution has officially been classified as “carcinogenic to humans”

Yesterday, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a press release saying that, according to evidence at hand, air pollution was a leading cause of cancer.

Thus, outdoor air pollution has officially been classified as carcinogenic to humans.

In the press release, the Agency also explained that, after reviewing the findings of several studies, scientists reached the conclusion that high concentrations of particulate matter in the air that people breathe also constitute a treat to public health.

“After thoroughly reviewing the latest available scientific literature, the world's leading experts convened by the IARC [International Agency for Research on Cancer] Monographs Programme concluded that there is sufficient evidence that exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer. They also noted a positive association with an increased risk of bladder cancer,” the Agency wrote.

Furthermore, “Particulate matter, a major component of outdoor air pollution, was evaluated separately and was also classified as carcinogenic to humans.”

Now that is has officially been labeled as carcinogenic to humans, air pollution finds itself in the same category as tobacco smoke, UV radiation and radioactive chemicals.

“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,” Dr. Kurt Straif wished to stress.

The Telegraph tells us that, in the year 2010 alone, air pollution caused about 223,000 people worldwide to die of lung cancer. What's more, several studies have shown that it makes people more vulnerable to various respiratory and heart diseases.

Specialists expect that, now that air pollution has been listed as carcinogenic to humans, high officials will take measures to improve air quality worldwide as soon as possible.

“Classifying outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans is an important step. 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,” said Dr. Christopher Wild.

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