Air pollution is a silent killer

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution is estimated to contribute to 25% of deaths caused by lung cancer. Research suggests that air pollution contributes to a great number of cancer incidences worldwide, as well as diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers have examined whether the rise in air pollution contributes to the amplified occurrence of lung cancer.

Carcinogens are substances and agents that are known to cause cancer. Diesel, aldehydes, and other chemicals used in industry are identified carcinogens and they are often found in polluted air. These chemicals and other particles in the air can cause cancer in the long term – especially lung cancer and bladder cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), are responsible for discovering and classifying substances that can cause cancer with the aim to create awareness, as well as to take action to reduce the potential exposure to cancer causing substances.

IARC has recently classified the outdoor air pollution itself as a carcinogen. Air pollution in urban environments and in greater cities are especially associated with an increased cancer risk. This statement by IARC was based on several studies examining the link between cancer and air pollution.

But how can we reduce our exposure to air pollution?

Here is some advice on how you can protect yourself from increased air pollution exposure:

  1. If you exercise outdoors, avoid exercising during rush hour.
  2. Avoid being outdoors in urban cities during rush hours as much as possible.
  3. If possible, prefer an alternative route to highly trafficked and busy paths.
  4. Spend more time in natural surroundings such as parks and forests.
  5. When waiting to cross a street, step back a little from the crossing to reduce the risk of direct exposure to air pollution caused by cars.
  6. When walking in the city, choose the path furthest away from busy roads to reduce your direct exposure.
  7. As much as possible try to open windows in your home that don’t look out directly onto roads.

Simple daily measures can affect the later outcomes in our lives. Acting on these seven easy measures will reduce your exposure to air pollution. Remember, cancer is a disease that first-and-foremost should be sought to be prevented.

by Adile Orhan 

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