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Air pollution linked to higher risk of lung cancer and heart failure

Tuesday 9 July 2013 19.05 EDT
Air pollution linked to higher risk of lung cancer and heart failure
Two studies show effects on health of long- and short-term exposure to pollutants from traffic and industry

The studies looked at exposure to particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Sarah Boseley, health editor
Air pollution, chiefly from traffic exhaust fumes in cities, is having a serious and sometimes fatal effect on health, according to two studies that link it to lung cancer and heart failure.
Air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer even at levels lower than those recommended by the European Union, which are also standard in the UK, says a paper in the Lancet Oncology journal. Although smoking is a far bigger cause of lung cancer, a significant number of people will get the disease because of where they live.
The study, codenamed Escape, combined data from 17 cohort studies in nine European countries covering a total of almost 313,000 people. The size of the research gives it greater authority than previous work.
It looked at the effect of long-term exposure to nitrogen oxides and particulate matter – PM2.5, which has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, and PM10, with a diameter less than 10 micrometres. Among the participants, 2,095 developed lung cancer during an average 13 years of follow-up.
The researchers, led by Ole Raaschou-Nielsen from the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, found that for every increase of five micrograms per cubic metre of PM2.5 pollution, the risk of lung cancer rose by 18%, and for every increase of 10 micrograms per cubic metre in PM10 pollution the risk increased by 22%. They found no link between lung cancer and nitrogen oxides.
More http://m.guardiannews.com/society/2013/jul/10/air-pollution-lung-cancer-heart-failure

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