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UN Agency Classifies Air Pollution a Leading Cause of Cancer

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News Inferno; October 18, 2013

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization, said data from 2010 indicate that 223,000 deaths worldwide from lung cancer resulted from air pollution, and the agency also said there is convincing evidence that air pollution increases bladder cancer risk.

The risk can be similar to that of breathing in second-hand tobacco smoke, according to Kurt Straif, head of the agency’s section that ranks carcinogens, Reuters reports. The IARC evaluates specific air pollutants, and, an agency statement said, “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.”

Air pollution is caused by emissions from transportation, power generation, industry and agriculture, and residential heating and cooking. Air pollution is known to raise the risk for respiratory illnesses and heart disease, Reuters notes.

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