WHO Declares Air Pollution a Carcinogen

In the fall of 2013, the World Health Organization officially declared air pollution a carcinogen.

“What the World Health Organization does is assemble a panel of experts to review literature, publications and studies from animal to human epidemiology,” says Peter Shields, MD, deputy director of the OSUCCC. “Looking at all the data, they concluded that air pollution is a cause of lung cancer.”

The main sources of air pollution are modes of transportation and power generation. However, things like fireplaces and trash burning contribute as well. Fortunately, not all individuals are at as high of a risk for developing lung cancer from air pollution.

“We’re individually different,” Shields says. “Just like there is no routine cancer, the way we get our cancer is not routine either.”

To learn more about what you can do to reduce risk of lung cancer from air pollution, watch this week’s segment of Toward a Cancer-Free World.