Fossil Fuel Pollution Likely Accelerates Lung Cancer in Non-smokers, Study Finds

Car exhaust was recently studied and the initial results indicate that it could cause people to have a higher risk of contracting lung cancer, even if they do not smoke The study was conducted by staff at the Francis Crick Institute and University College London, and they studied people in England, South Korea, and Taiwan. According to the numbers they collected, by increasing the particulate matter in the air by more than 2.5 micrometers, there were mutations in the airway cells that suggest a shift in state that is similar to cancer. Mutations were seen at levels of 18% to 33% typically, but those numbers were higher for lungs exposed to air pollution. Air pollution is caused by cars and factories, so it isn’t just a matter of reducing the number of cars to improve the air quality. The particles that are found to increase the risk of lung cancer are the same types of particles that exacerbate climate change.

An estimated 1.2 million deaths annually, with the majority of those being caused by smoking tobacco. There was also a study by the American Cancer Society in 2002 that showed lung cancer risks increases 8% for every 10 micrograms per cubic meter increase of certain pollutants. More than 100 million people within the US live in conditions that increase the risk of lung cancer among nonsmokers, and that number is likely to keep increasing as the climate continues to change. There are several potential outcomes, including potentially preventative measures that might be taken and assessing the effectiveness of some types of medication that could help.

Most people associate lung cancer with smoking, so people with lung cancer tend to be treated as if they had chosen to have the disease by choosing to smoke. This report shows why it is a much greater concern, and that simply not smoking is not enough to avoid this particularly insidious type of cancer. To learn more about the research to better understand the risks, you can read some of the details at Fossil Fuel Pollution Likely Accelerates Lung Cancer in Non-smokers, Study Finds. The article can also be played through the play button at the top so you can listen if you don’t have time to read it. 

* O’Connell and Associates provides this article for informational purposes only.

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