Monthly Archives: June 2018

Particulate air pollutants associated with numerous cancers

Here is another post related to our one from last week on how air pollution is damaging our health.  This article discusses how exposure to particulate air pollutants are being associated with numerous cancers.

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Particulate air pollutants associated with numerous cancers – University of Birmingham 

“Researchers have found that long-term exposure to environmental pollutants was associated with increased risk of mortality for many types of cancer in an elderly Hong Kong population.

The study between the University of Birmingham and University of Hong Kong, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, adds to growing concern around the health risks of prolonged exposure to ambient fine particulate matter.

Particulate matter is the term for particles found in the air, including hydrocarbons and heavy metals produced by transportation and power generation, among other sources. This study focused on ambient fine particulate matter, or matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5).

For every 10 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m³) of increased exposure to PM2.5, the risk of dying from any cancer rose by 22 percent.

Dr Neil Thomas, from the Institute of Applied Health at The University of Birmingham, said, “The implications for other similar cities around the world are that PM2.5 must be reduced to reduce the health burden. Air pollution remains a clear, modifiable public health concern.”

Dr Thuan Quoc Thach, from the University of Hong Kong, said, “Long-term exposure to particulate matter has been associated with mortality mainly from cardiopulmonary causes and lung cancer, but there have been few studies showing an association with mortality from other cancers. We suspected that these particulates could have an equivalent effect on cancers elsewhere in the body.”

The researchers recruited 66,280 people aged 65 or older between 1998 and 2001, and followed the subjects until 2011, ascertaining causes of death from Hong Kong registrations. Annual concentrations of PM2.5 at their homes were estimated using data from satellite data and fixed-site monitors.

After adjusting for smoking status, and excluding deaths that had occurred within three years of the baseline to control for competing diseases, the study showed that for every 10 µg/m³ of increased exposure to PM2.5, the risk of dying from any cancer rose by 22 percent. Increases of 10 µg/m³ of PM2.5 were associated with a 42 percent increased risk of mortality from cancer in the upper digestive tract and a 35 percent increased risk of mortality from accessory digestive organs, which include the liver, bile ducts, gall bladder, and pancreas.

For women, every 10 µg/m³ increase in exposure to PM2.5 was associated with an 80 percent increased risk of mortality from breast cancer, and men experienced a 36 percent increased risk of dying of lung cancer for every 10 µg/m³ increased exposure to PM2.5.

The team believe that possible explanations for the association between PM2.5 and cancer could include defects in DNA repair function, alterations in the body’s immune response, or inflammation that triggers angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels that allows tumours to spread. In the case of the digestive organs, heavy metal pollution could affect gut microbiota and influence the development of cancer.

The large scale of the study, as well as its documentation of cancer-specific mortality, enables a detailed investigation of the contribution of particulate matter to these cancers and counters the common problems associated with research into mortality via specific types of cancer in a population.

Dr Thomas added, “The next step is to determine whether other countries experience similar associations between PM2.5 and cancer deaths. This study, combined with existing research, suggests that other urban populations may carry the same risks but we’d be keen to look into this further.”

Dr Thach concluded, “The limitation to this study is the sole focus on PM2.5. Emerging research is beginning to study the effects of exposure to multiple pollutants on human health. We must be cautious though, as pollution is just one risk factor for cancer, and others, such as diet and exercise, may be more significant and more modifiable risk factors.””

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How air pollution can cause cancer – Cancer Research UK

“Air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer. For each individual person, the increase in risk of cancer is small. But because everyone is exposed to some air pollution, when we think about big numbers of people, like the population of a country, air pollution has a much bigger effect.

And air pollution isn’t only linked to lung cancer, there is also good evidence that it can increase the risk of other diseases, mainly respiratory diseases and heart disease.

However, it’s important to keep the risk in perspective. Smoking has a much bigger effect on the risk of developing lung cancer than air pollution.

What is air pollution?

Air pollution is the harmful things that are found in the air we breathe.

It is a mixture of many different substances and the exact contents vary depending on its source, your location, the time of year and even the weather. Air pollution can be man-made, such as fumes from cars and smoke from burning fuels like wood or coal. But it also includes natural substances, like desert dust that travels to the UK all the way from the Sahara desert.

Air pollution is often separated into outdoor and indoor air pollution. Both indoor and outdoor air pollutants have been shown to increase the risk of cancer. Air pollution is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. Although the increased risk of cancer is small for individuals, because everyone is exposed to some air pollution, it has an important effect across the population as a whole.

Outdoor Air Pollution

In 2013, outdoor air pollution was identified as a cause of cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It’s responsible for far fewer cases of cancer than other risk factors, such as smoking and obesity, but air pollution affects everyone.

The research shows that tiny dust-like particles – called ‘particulate matter’, or PM – are an important part of air pollution. The smallest particles – less than 2.5 millionths of a metre across, known as PM2.5 – appear to be behind lung cancers caused by pollution.

The risk of developing lung cancer increases as the level of PM2.5 in the air increases.”

To read further please follow the above link to the article.

Air Pollution Is Destroying Your Health

We all know air pollution is causing us health problems.  Here are a few consequences you might not have been aware of…………..

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“5 Ways Air Pollution Is Destroying Your Health – Dr Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM – Global Healing Center

You probably already know about some of the dangers that severe air pollution exposure can cause and how places like stoplights at intersections can increase your exposure to harmful air particles up to 29 times more than the open road. While these facts are startling, you probably don’t know about the almost invisible dangers.  Namely the numerous diseases and cognitive issues now being linked to air pollution. Here we’ll get into five ways you’re letting air pollution destroy your health.

The Hidden Dangers of Air Pollution
Despite the slow turn to more sustainable forms of agriculture and industry, air pollution is still a big problem. Here are just some of the ways air pollution negatively affects your health.

1. Air Pollution is Linked to Suicide
It may seem crazy to think that air pollution could lead to something as serious as suicide, but studies in Taiwan, South Korea, China, and now Utah suggest a link. Not only is suicide the 10th leading cause of death in the US, it is the number 8th cause of death in Utah.  Obviously, there are many factors that must be considered when discussing causes of suicide; however, suicide rates increased in Utah during the spring and fall (a time when certain aspects of air pollution can be worse).

2. Air Pollution Slows Cognition in Schoolchildren
We all know that air pollution can exacerbate symptoms of asthma and other respiratory-related illnesses and diseases, but did you also know that it can affect brain development? Dr. Jordi Sunyer did a study to see just how affected schoolchildren are by air pollution (specifically traffic pollution). The study concluded that children who attended schools in polluted areas showed overall slower cognition in comparison to those who attended schools in areas with less traffic pollution. “The associations between slower cognitive development and higher levels of air pollutants remained after the researchers took factors such as parents’ education, commuting time, smoking in the home and green spaces at school into account.”

3. Significant Risks to Frequent Flyers
Those who fly frequently (especially pilots or other airline staff) could potentially be more at risk for certain issues, dubbed “aerotoxic syndrome.” Most planes have a mechanism that compresses air from the engines and uses that as air in the cabin, but sometimes, these mechanisms malfunction and allow oil particles to taint the cabin air. Many airline employees have mentioned this, but one pilot, Richard Westgate, passed away in 2012 after claiming to be a victim of poisonous and toxic cabin fumes.

4. Cremations Release Mercury Into the Air
With land for burials becoming more scarce (and also more expensive), many people turn to cremation as an alternate form of honoring the body of a loved one who has passed on. The unfortunate side effect of cremation is mercury emissions. Honoring a fallen loved one should not come at the price of endangering yourself and others, but there are alternatives such as alkaline hydrolysis or “liquid cremation” that are far healthier for the environment and for you.

5. Air Pollution Linked to Autism
Autism and related disorders have been on the rise for some time and research suggests air pollution may be a contributing factor. Several reports noted a link between exposure to toxic metals and other pollutants in children who were more at risk to develop autism. Other studies focused on pregnant women and how closely they lived to freeways and other sources of heavy pollution. All of the studies found similar exposures to a handful of particular pollutants that seemed to increase the risk of autism in newborns.

Air Pollution: No Simple Solution
It’s difficult to remove all air pollution from your life, unfortunately, but you can monitor and limit your exposure. Keep abreast with local news about your city or even check in on a Breathe Cam. Keep plants inside your home to help remove harmful pollutants. Consider an air purification device, they can be a great active approach for purifying the air in your home.

Air pollution

“Autism Risk Linked to Particulate Air Pollution – Scientific America

Children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of fine particulate pollution in late pregnancy have up to twice the risk of developing autism as children of mothers breathing cleaner air, scientists reported

NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of fine particulate pollution in late pregnancy have up to twice the risk of developing autism as children of mothers breathing cleaner air, scientists at Harvard School of Public Health reported on Thursday.

The greater the exposure to fine particulates emitted by fires, vehicles, and industrial smokestacks the greater the risk, found the study, published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Earlier research also found an autism-pollution connection, including a 2010 study that found the risk of autism doubled if a mother, during her third trimester, lived near a freeway, a proxy for exposure to particulates. But this is the first to examine the link across the United States, and “provides additional support” to a possible link, said Heather Volk of the University of Southern California Children’s Hospital, who led earlier studies.

U.S. diagnoses of autism soared to one in 68 children in 2010 (the most recent data) from one in 150 in 2000, government scientists reported in March. Experts are divided on how much of the increase reflects greater awareness and how much truly greater incidence.

Although the disorder has a strong genetic basis, the increasing incidence has spurred scientists to investigate environmental causes, too, since genes do not change quickly enough to explain the rise.

The Harvard study included children of the 116,430 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II, which began in 1989. The researchers collected data on where the women lived while pregnant and levels of particulate pollution. They then compared the prenatal histories of 245 children with autism spectrum disorder to 1,522 normally-developing children, all born from 1990 to 2002.

There was no association between autism and fine particulate pollution before or early in pregnancy, or after the child was born. But high levels of exposure during the third trimester doubled the risk of autism.

Evidence that a mother-to-be’s exposure to air pollution affects her child’s risk of autism “is becoming quite strong,” said Harvard epidemiologist Marc Weisskopf, who led the study, suggesting a way to reduce the risk.

It is not clear how tiny particles might cause autism, but they are covered with myriad contaminants and penetrate cells, which can disrupt brain development.

Last year the Environmental Protection Agency, citing the link to asthma, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, tightened air quality standards for fine particulate pollution. States have until 2020 to meet the new standards. (Reporting by Sharon Begley; editing by Andrew Hay)”

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Have a great day! Chris

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.