Report: Air Pollution Causes Cancer

Air Pollution and Cancer

Air Pollution and Cancer

A new report has been released by a medical research group working for the World Health Organization (WHO) that confirms air pollution is giving people lung cancer.

The WHO sponsored organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancers (IARC), suggests that heavy air pollution is in fact more dangerous than smoking cigarettes.

In previous research, scientists revealed that certain components of air pollution like diesel fumes are in fact carcinogens. This new report expands that carcinogen classification to air pollution and smog in totality.

Your chances of getting lung cancer from air pollution are low, but air pollution is so persistent now, that exposure is common and difficult to avoid. From motor vehicles to aircraft, power plants and industrial emissions, the level of air pollution in most parts of the world continues to rise.

Air pollution has also been linked to heart disease and other respiratory illnesses. Scientists expect that the findings will speed up the push for tighter air pollution controls in many countries. There are also grave concerns over a number of cities in China where air pollution is a large problem – rates of lung cancer and respiratory illnesses are expected to increase rapidly.

Cancer Clusters in China

Cancer Clusters in China

Cancer Clusters in China

In a very interesting report by the Guardian newspaper, reported Jonathan Kaiman has taken a look at the increasing rates of cancer in China and specifically, in the mostly poor communities near chemical plants, pharmaceutical plants or power plants.

Many of these communities live a subsistence existence which involves fishing or farming for their food. The simple act of collecting water from the river is now a dangerous one for many families, because the water is often contaminated. The explosion in industrialization in China has seen vast tracts of land and water in some of these poorer areas contaminated by cancer causing agents.

One of the towns, Yanglingang, is considered what they now call a “cancer village” – a village near polluting factories which have seen cancer rates soar in recent years. Chinese academics consider about 450 communities to be “cancer villages” because of their close proximity to heavy industrial activity that is polluting the environment they need to survive. The cancer villages are spread across most of China except for the far western Qinghai province and Tibet.

The past 30 years of massive acceleration in industrial development in China has carried significant costs and the cancer villages are one of those costs. Some of the villages are very small but have seen 10 or 20 deaths from cancer in recent years, above the national average and far above the average in other countries.

The government has acknowledged the problems and has commissioned a 5 year plan to increase environmental protection measures which should lower cancer risk from hazardous materials. However with many of the population exposed for the last few decades, the cancer rate will increase in the short term. In the provinces many officials refuse to acknowledge the problem and we only know about it through studies by academics and the work of non governmental organizations. Even officials higher up in the government still refuse to acknowledge the problem with the head of China’s national cancer registry, Chen Wanqing telling the guardian that the admission of a problem by the ministry of environment was a mistake.

In the west, the link between pollution and cancer has been known for many years. In China the cancer mortality rates have risen by 80% in the last 30 years making cancer the leading cause of death. In the cancer villages, the primary cause is often the water which has been polluted by industrial processes. In the city it is often air pollution that causes cancer, in particular lung cancer. Many of China’s waterways are horrendously polluted, with some reports suggesting that almost half of it’s water is unfit for human contact. A huge problem when in the poor smaller communities, they often obtain their water directly from waterways. Consumption of water filled with toxins and heavy metals that accumulate in the human body of the years leads to the cancer clusters in these small towns.

Many of the towns also use the rivers for fishing, and now many of the fish contain heavy metals, further increasing their cancer risk. Near many towns like Yanglingang the industrial plants discharge their waste directly into the waterways and nearby power plants heavily pollute the air. Some villagers use alum powder to purify the water, but a “industrial aftertaste” is still present. Infant mortality rates are also increasing in many of these communities, possibly due to hazardous chemicals in the waterways.

The more affluent areas in China have become more aware of the issues with pollution and some have even managed to get factories shutdown and moved elsewhere to lower the level of pollution. However in many of these small communities, they don’t have the money or connections to prevent heavy industrialization and pollution right next to their communities.

There is a constant battle raging between the small communities and authorities who often refuse to accept that the heavy industrialization is a problem. The cancer rates are obviously linked to pollutants according to impartial health officials, another problem in burgeoning China.

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Cancer of the lung is the leading cause of death among both male and female people who are afflicted with cancer. It is also an exceptionally agonizing, torturous ailment, something which nobody should have to encounter.

Even though many are aware of the various causes of lung cancer, many think that carcinoma of the lung and smoking cigarettes are interchangeable terms; that is, lots of people think that only people who smoke die from lung cancer. But it is the result of more than simply tobacco.

Obviously, cigarette use is without doubt the primary cause of lung cancer globally with cigarette smokers making up 85-90% of lung cancer deaths. As a result, the warning here should be apparent: if you do not smoke then don’t start and if you do smoke cigarettes then do quit. However, it is recommended that you should know about the many potential risks out there – and unfortunately, some of them seem to be virtually unstoppable.

Besides cigarette smoking, there are 5 additional principal causes of lung cancer as outlined by Dr. Joseph Mercola. These are:

1) Frequent exposure to radon
2) Frequent exposure to asbestos
3) Frequent exposure to air pollution
4) Frequent exposure to chemicals
5) Aging

Clearly, these cancer of the lung triggers are a part of the bigger picture of pollution problems that are a direct result of the industrialization of our world. Items like asbestos and radon are in usually avoidable (however might still unintentionally fall victim to their toxic compounds) but common pollution can be something that everybody is confronted with, with basically no chance for escape.

What things can you do to take care of yourself? First, you can avoid materials you understand are risky. Do not smoke, stay away from asbestos, and attempt to be as chemical free as is possible. To fight the pollution that you are subjected to, eat a healthy diet and stock up on antioxidants-Omega-3 oils in wild salmon, acai berry, kale, grapefruits and tomatoes, which are just some of the many antioxidant rich food products which can help you fight cancer-causing free radicals discovered in pollution. Get as much physical exercise as you can and try to avoid eating processed food – it only exposes you to more risky chemical substances.

Carcinoma of the lung kills and it arises from more than solely cigarettes. But always remember that cigarette smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. It is something you can no longer make lame excuses for. If you would like to enjoy a healthy and rewarding life, then you need to end your tobacco habit. Recruit the help of a smoking cessation trainer, like a hypnotherapist, and take your initial steps to a healthier body and happier mind.