Study Shows Link Between Lung Cancer and Air Quality
p>Exposure to air pollutants even at levels below current European limit values have been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer in a recent Europe wide study. Codenamed Escape the research took data from nine European countries covering a total of almost 313,000 people looking at long term exposure to nitrogen oxides and particulates. Over a period of 13 years 2,095 of the participants developed lung cancer. The researchers from the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, found that the risk of lung cancer rose by 18% for every five micrograms per cubic metre increase in PM2.5 while a 10 microgram per cubic metre rise in PM10 increased the risk to 22%. There was no visible link with nitrogen oxide levels.
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in the UK, with around 42,000 people diagnosed in 2010. An estimated 86% of cases are believed to be a direct result of smoking. Other potential triggers include exposure to natural radon gas and asbestos in the workplace. The new study is likely to see air pollution added to the list as a recognised cause of the disease. The results are particularly concerning as risk was still present even at levels currently below limit values. Lead Scientist Dr Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, said: “We found no threshold below which there was no risk. The results showed a picture that ‘the more the worse, the less the better'” Air pollution was mostly linked to adenocarcinoma lung cancer, the only form of the disease to affect significant numbers of non-smokers.