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Outdoor Air Pollution Leading Environmental Cause of Cancer Deaths: IARC

Thermal power plantThe International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), published data according to which exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer and increases the risk for bladder cancer.

The IARC data highlighted that air pollution is known to increase risks for a wide range of diseases, such as respiratory and heart diseases. It also noted that air pollution exposure levels increased significantly in some parts of the world, particularly in rapidly industrialising countries with large populations.

Around 2,23,000 deaths from lung cancer in 2010 were caused by air pollution.

According to the data the predominant sources of outdoor air pollution are transportation, stationary power generation, industrial, agricultural emissions and residential heating and cooking. Some air pollutants have natural sources as well.

Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Jharkhand were listed among cities with high concentration of life-threatening air pollutants.

Central Pollution Control Board’s National Ambient Air Quality Status and Trends in India -2010 also confirms that Delhi and Kolkata are the worst affected cities when it comes to air pollution.

Indian Council of Medical Research, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai reported the highest number of lung cancer cases in the country during 2009-11.

National Cancer Control Programme forecasts that more than1.4 million people would suffer from some form of cancer in India by 2026.

Air pollution is contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.
Common sources of air pollution are household combustion devices, motor vehicles, industrial facilities and forest fires. Other sources include Aldehydes, Dust, Aerosols, Arsines, Phosgene, Ammonia, Hydrogen Cyanides etc.

Reference and further reading;

Read our series of articles on pollution and its forms – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

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