Air Pollution Linked to Lung Cancer in Non-Smokers
Non-smokers who live in areas with high pollution are 20% more likely to die from lung cancer than people who live in cleaner environments, a new study shows. The fine particles in air pollution may irritate the lungs and cause inflammation, increasing the odds of developing lung cancer.
The study tracked 180,000 non-smokers for 26 years. Throughout the study period, 1,100 people died from lung cancer. The participants lived in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico, and based on their zip codes, the researchers estimated how much air pollution they were exposed to, ranging from a low of about six units to a high of 38.
After the researchers accounted for other cancer risk factors, such as second-hand smoke and radon exposure, they found that for every 10 extra units of air pollution exposure, a person’s risk of lung cancer rose by 15 to 27 percent. In all cases, the levels of pollution were within regulatory standards.
Do you live in an area with high pollution?