By Dr. Sourav Kumar Mishra, Oncology
Are you aware of the link between air pollution and cancer? Air pollution refers to the mixture of several harmful substances, which lead to various serious health hazards on exposure. The primary sources of air pollution are man-made, including fumes from automobiles and the smoke from burning fuels. Desert dust, radon gas, and several other natural sources of air pollution are equally dangerous. Air pollution is classified into outdoor and indoor air pollution. It is highly associated with increased risks of developing cancer. Smoking is considered to be one of the major agents, which pollute the air and increase the chances of cancer to a large extent.
Outdoor air pollution
- Outdoor air pollution is strongly linked with cancer development.
- As every person is exposed to some form of air pollution, it has a more harmful effect on the whole population across the globe as a general threat.
- A certain part of outdoor air pollution referred to as PM 2.5, or solid dust particles, are highly responsible for the development of cancer.
- The chances of cancer increase with the increase in PM 2.5 levels in the air.
Indoor air pollution
- There are several sources of indoor air pollution that are closely associated with an increased risk of cancer.
- The sources include fuels used for heating homes and for cooking, radon, and tobacco smoke.
- Second hand smoke is another harmful indoor air pollutant that causes cancer.
Second hand smoke
- Secondhand smoke increases the risk of cancer development, along with the risk of developing other diseases such as stroke and lung disease.
- A lot of people all over the world get exposed to second hand smoke.
- A lot of deaths occur due to cancer because of second hand smoke exposure which is common every year, all over the globe.
- Radon is a natural radioactive gas, which is associated with increased risks of developing lung cancer.
- It is found at low levels outdoors. It may also build in high concentrations indoors.
- Although radon exposure does not pose a huge threat for cancer, a lot of radon-associated cancers develop due to exposure to radon, along with tobacco smoke.
- This is a flammable liquid having no color and with a sweet odor.
- It is closely associated with the development of leukemia and cancers affecting other cells of the body.
- Cigarette smoking and tobacco smoke are major cancer causing elements that are found in the air commonly. Both of these are quite harmful. It is recommended that you not only quit smoking, but also keep away from passive smoking.