Exposure to Air Pollution Increases Risk of Developing Lung Cancer

Air pollution has long been associated with respiratory ailments such as asthma. Now, it seems that poor air quality may also increase the risk of developing lung cancer. A team of Norwegian experts studied more than 16,000 men over nearly 30 years and found that those who lived in areas with worse air pollution were more likely to be stricken with the disease. The increased probability correlated to rising levels of nitrogen dioxide, a common air pollutant; with every rise in concentration of NO2 around participants’ homes over the three-decade period, there was an approximately 8 percent increase in risk. Smoking remains the single biggest risk factor, but Stephen Spiro of the British Thoracic Society echoed the general consensus when he spoke of “a small but significant link between urban air pollution and the risk of developing lung cancer.”