New evidence links particulate matter air pollution to breast cancer

Image source: National Breast Cancer Foundation

The linkage between particulate matter and cancer is well established.  For example, in 2012, the World Health Organization identified diesel exhaust, one of the chief sources of particulate matter in many cities, as a carcinogen,  and a study last year associated exposure to fine particulate matter with “sharply higher mortality rates from cancers of the breast, the upper digestive tract and other organs.”

New research by University of Florida scientists strengthens the science behind the linkage.   Their study of over 250,000 women living in the U.S. found that those with very dense breast tissue, a well-established and strong breast cancer risk factor, are about 20 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of particulate matter.  According to Lusine Yaghjyan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., the lead author of the study, “Chemical components in

According to Lusine Yaghjyan, the lead author of the study, this may be caused by toxins delivered by the particulate matter. “Chemical components in particulate matter could influence breast density by interfering with normal tissue growth, thus increasing the amount of fibroglandular tissue in the breast and, subsequently, breast density.”

Learn more about the study here:

Higher air pollution exposure linked to denser breast tissue, University of Florida

Link between air pollution and breast cancer discovered, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics

New study links particulate matter air pollution to premature births

A new study adds to the weight of evidence linking premature births to particulate matter air pollution (PM) – a cautionary note for those who live near highways and other sources PM. This research, by Swedish, British, and American scientists, links almost 1 in 5 premature births to fine PM air pollution.

Research published last year by researchers from NYU and other universities estimates the costs of premature births in the U.S. linked to air pollution at over $4 billion per year, and emphasizes that “considerable health and economic benefits could be achieved through environmental regulatory interventions that reduce PM2.5 exposure in pregnancy.”

The primary sources of PM air pollution in the U.S. are traffic-related air pollution, particularly from diesel engines, burning of biomass, and coal power plants.

Economic costs of premature births

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