LONDON (AP) — International researchers say polluted air is a more serious cause of cancer than passive cigarette smoke.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer declares today that air pollution is a carcinogen, alongside known dangers such as asbestos, tobacco and ultraviolet radiation. IARC is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization.
IARC had previously deemed some of the components in air pollution to be carcinogens, but this is the first time it has classified air pollution in its entirety as cancer causing.
The group says the risk to the individual is low, but virtually unavoidable.
The fact that nearly everyone on the planet is exposed to outdoor pollution could prompt governments and other agencies to adopt stricter controls. Previously, pollution had been found to boost the chances of heart and respiratory diseases.