Does Air Particulate Matter Cause Lung Cancer?
More people worldwide die from lung cancer then any other type of cancer. Most of these are caused by smoking first followed by radon and other known carcinogens that can also increase the chance of getting the disease but does air pollution particularly air particulate matter cause lung cancer?
The cancer agency within the World Health Organization now says yes! According to the international agency in research for cancer 223,000 lung cancer deaths worldwide are attributed to air pollution. With the 1.4 million people worldwide dying from lung cancer each year that makes air pollution responsible for about 16% of these deaths.
The head of the IARC said “we consider this (air pollution) to be the most important environmental carcinogen, more so than passive smoking. “
The IARC also said Air pollution contains a “mixture of cancer causing substances.”
And therefore belongs in the same category asbestos, ultraviolet radiation (found in tanning beds) and tobacco, substances that are carcinogenic to humans. The report also talks about air particulate matter which is a major component of air pollution.
What is air particulate matter? That’s the term for tiny particles in the air like dust, soot and smoke. Where does particulate matter come from? It’s generated from operating cars, burning wood, coal and dust raised from driving on paved or unpaved roads.
How does air particulate matter cause cancer
Well scientists continue to study exactly how air pollution causes cancer particularly air particulate matter, the prime suspects are soot particles and chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
When we inhale PAHs into our lungs they can damage the DNA of the lungs cells. It doesn’t stop there ultra-fine particles in the air are easily inhaled deep into the lungs and can result in a long term inflammation that scientists believe can speed the spread of cells that are damaged.
Are there air pollutants and lung cancer
There are many other airborne pollutants what are linked with developing lung cancer. Some of these are:
- Tobacco smoke. It is well documented approximately 90% of all lung cancer cases are directly associated with tobacco use, especially smoking cigarettes. There are approximately 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke and at least 60 are directly known to cause lung cancer.
- Asbestos. Is known to be responsible for deaths caused by lung cancer. Asbestos is a microscopic fibre but can be inhaled and trapped in the lungs. This causes inflammation and other issues, and also lead to the development of lung cancer.
- Radon. Radon is a odorless, tasteless, invisible radioactive gas that seeps into buildings through the foundation, walls or cracks in the floor. Read on not only has links to lung cancer but also there has been more recent evidence of a link between radon and leukemia.
- Airborne chemicals (VOC’s). Many different chemicals have been linked to different types of cancer, Formaldehyde and Chromium exposure has been specifically linked with lung cancer.
Protection from pollutants
- Stop smoking. If you were a smoker, stop. Tobacco has been proved to be the leading cause of lung cancer. Don’t allow others to smoke in your home.
- Get your home tested for radon. If you don’t already know about this radioactive gas do some online research and then have your home tested.
- Improve the air-quality in your home. Purchasing a high-performing air purifier such as a HEPA system like the ones found in our blue air systems will remove particles, gases and chemicals from the air you breathe.
If you want to learn more about lung cancer and the risks of exposure to carcinogens, visit www.cancer.gov. If you would like to book a Indoor Air Quality Test contact Home Pros Group at 780-455-1188.