Cancer Mortality Risks from Long-term Exposure to Ambient Fine Particle (Abstract, Chit Ming Wong, Hilda Tsang, Hak Kan Lai, G. Neil Thomas, Kin Bong Lam, King Pan Chan, Qishi Zheng, Jon G. Ayres, Siu Yin Lee5, Tai Hing Lam1, and Thuan Quoc Thach1, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, Feb. 22, 2016)
Also discussed here: Exposure to particulate air pollutants associated with numerous cancers (ScienceDaily, Apr. 29, 2016)
Today we review research that looks at the impact of fine particulates on health, specifically on the risk of cancer, based on 10 years of exposure to this pollution for a large sample of older people (older than 65), living in an urban environment (Hong Kong). Results indicate for every 10 µg/m³ increase in exposure, the risk of dying by cancer goes up by 35% for men (mainly in the digestive tract) and for women the risk of mortality because of breast cancer goes up by 80%. The authors caution that more research is needed to look at the link between cancer other air pollutants in combination with particulate matter.
“long-term exposure to environmental pollutants was associated with increased risk of mortality for many types of cancer in an elderly Hong Kong population.”
“For every 10 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m³) of increased exposure to PM2.5, the risk of dying from any cancer rose by 22 percent... with a 42 percent increased risk of mortality from cancer in the upper digestive tract and [for men] a 35 percent increased risk of mortality from accessory digestive organs, which include the liver, bile ducts, gall bladder, and pancreas.”
“For women, every 10 µg/m³ increase in exposure to PM2.5 was associated with an 80 percent increased risk of mortality from breast cancer,”
"Long-term exposure to particulate matter has been associated with mortality mainly from cardiopulmonary causes and lung cancer, but there have been few studies showing an association with mortality from other cancers. We suspected that these particulates could have an equivalent effect on cancers elsewhere in the body."
"The limitation to this study is the sole focus on PM2.5. Emerging research is beginning to study the effects of exposure to multiple pollutants on human health. We must be cautious though, as pollution is just one risk factor for cancer, and others, such as diet and exercise, may be more significant and more modifiable risk factors."