16:00 18 October 2013
The World Health Organisation has confirmed that air pollution is the leading cause of cancer.
Sources include power stations, car exhausts, emissions from agriculture and industry, and even heating in people’s home.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the WHO, has now classified air pollution in the same category as UV radiation, tobacco, and plutonium.
Dr Kurt Straif, from IARC, said: "The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances.
"We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths."
Meanwhile, Dr Julie Sharp, the head of Cancer Research UK said that the news isn’t surprising. She said: It's important that
people keep the risk from air pollution in perspective.
"Although air pollution increases the risk of developing lung cancer by a small amount, other things have a much bigger effect on our risk, particularly smoking."
Dr Rachel Thompson, head of research interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund International, urged the government and other bodies to act on this issue. She said: "This latest evidence confirms the need for government, industry and multinational bodies to urgently address environmental causes of cancer.
"But there's also a lot we can do as individuals to lower our chances of developing the disease such as being more physically active and adopting a healthier diet."
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