Air pollution from traffic linked to brain cancer for first time


We bike down the West Side Highway, run along Fifth Avenue and do yoga on rooftops, all to improve our well-being — but what if we’re doing so at the expense of our long-term health?

A new study from researchers at McGill University in Canada has linked airborne nanoparticles produced by motor traffic to brain cancer for the first time ever. Published in the journal Epidemiology, the findings show that a one-year increase in pollution exposure raised the risk of brain cancer by more than 10 percent.

Scott Weichenthal, the researcher at McGill who led the study, tells the Guardian that he avoids “heavily polluted streets” when exercising outdoors.

“At an individual level, it is always a good idea to reduce your exposure to pollutants,” he says. “But the more important actions are at a regulatory level, where you can take action that reduces everyone’s exposure — that is where the real benefits come in.”

The researchers looked at the pollution-exposure levels and the medical records of 1.9 million Canadian adults from 1991 to 2016 and found a “consistent” link between brain cancer and the pollution nanoparticles emitted by combustion cars. Researchers took into account other cancer-causing factors such as obesity levels and whether or not people were smokers. However, despite the alarming and consistent data, because it is the first study of its kind, Weichenthal said more studies are needed to replicate the findings.

A global review of air pollution’s effects on the human body, published in February in the journal Chest, found that air pollution can negatively affect virtually “every organ in the body.”

But don’t worry: We don’t need to bring mini air purifiers with us everywhere just yet.

Researchers at Columbia University found that in New York, an estimated 5,660 lives were saved by lower air-pollution levels in 2012 compared to 2002 levels, according to a study published in August in Environmental Research Letters.

Best bet? Move your run into a big park — like Central or Prospect — before the snow starts to fall.

via Air pollution from traffic linked to brain cancer for first time

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This entry was posted in Air Quality, Canada, Health Effects of Air Pollution, Medical Studies, USA & Canada, World News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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