Traffic pollution can double breast cancer risk

Thursday, October 7, 2010

LONDON - Believe it or not, traffic pollution can double a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer.

Breast cancer incidence was clearly higher in areas with increased levels of nitrogen dioxide, the Daily Mail quoted researchers as saying.

Mark Goldberg from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in Canada said: “We found a link between post-menopausal breast cancer and exposure to nitrogen dioxide, a marker for traffic-related air pollution.

“Across Montreal, levels of nitrogen dioxide varied between five parts per billion to over 30 parts per billion,” he said, according to the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

“We found that risk increased by about 25 percent with every increase of nitrogen dioxide of five parts per billion,” Goldberg said.

“Another way of saying this is that women living in the areas with the highest levels of pollution were almost twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those living in the least polluted areas,” he added.

Goldberg warned that the disturbing results should be interpreted with “great caution”. “First of all, this doesn’t mean nitrogen dioxide causes breast cancer.

“This gas is not the only pollutant created by cars and trucks, but where it is present, so are the other gases, particles and compounds we associate with traffic - some of which are known carcinogens.”

The study by researchers from McGill University and the University of Montreal combined data from several studies.

Filed under: Cancer, Environment, Medicine, World

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