New research from the International Agency for Research on Cancers (IARC) and World Health Organization (WHO) suggests severe air pollution is giving people lung cancer. The data is so conclusive that scientists even believe pollution can be more dangerous than smoking, which is hard to stomach considering the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates more than 440,000 people die annually from cigarette smoking. A quick outdoor getaway never sounded so refreshing.
“Our task was to evaluate the air everyone breathes rather than focus on specific air pollutants,” said deputy head Dana Loomis. “The results from the reviewed studies point in the same direction: the risk of developing lung cancer is significantly increased in people exposed to air pollution.”
Certain components of air pollution, such as diesel fumes, have been themselves classified as carcinogens. But the new data classifies air pollution as a whole a cause of cancer, which is quite alarming considering it’s omnipresent in every big city. That’s good old industry for you. Look at any city skyline and you’ll see just how thick and nasty pollution is. New research suggests exposure levels have risen significantly in developing countries across the year, such as China.
Previous studies found air pollution—transport, power generation, industrial or agricultural emissions and residential heating and cooking—to cause heart and respiratory disease. The research classifies air pollution among Group 1 human carcinogens, which includes asbestos, plutonium, silica dust and ultraviolet radiation.