As Delhi, Mumbai Gasp For Air, New Study Links Breast Cancer To Pollution
Delhi's air quality turned "very poor" on Sunday for the first time since May 17. (Representational)
Women exposed to higher levels of fine particle air pollution are more likely to get breast cancer, according to a study by the European Society For Medical Oncology. This comes as several Indian cities, including the national capital, are inhaling toxic air.
The research showed "a statistically significant association between long-term exposure to fine particle air pollution, at home and at work, and risk of breast cancer".
The breast cancer risk increased by 28% when exposure to fine particle (PM2.5) air pollution increased by 10 µg/m3, the results showed.
Professor Charles Swanton, the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK, whose research suggested how PM2.5 particles may trigger lung cancer in non-smokers, said, "It will be important to test if pollutants allow cells in breast tissue with pre-existing mutations to expand and drive tumour promotion possibly through inflammatory processes".
"These very small particles can penetrate deep into the lung and get into the bloodstream from where they are absorbed into breast and other tissues," he said.
Recently, a US-based study linked non-lung cancer in older adults with long-term exposure to fine particle air pollutants and nitrogen dioxide.
Findings showed that chronic PM2.5 and NO2 exposures increased the risk of developing colorectal and prostate cancers but were not associated with endometrial cancer risk.
Delhi's air quality turned "very poor" on Sunday for the first time since May 17, triggering restrictions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to check polluting activities. Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai chaired a meeting with officials from 28 departments today after the Air Quality Index in the national capital crossed the 300-mark.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, an anti-smog gun was seen in action as the air quality in the city this morning was recorded in the 'moderate' category with an air quality index of 127, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, Safar-India.