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Increased risk of oral cancer from increasing air pollution?
The constantly increasing air pollution leads to an increased incidence of various diseases worldwide. Researchers have now found that high levels of air pollution are also associated with an increased risk of oral cancer.
Scientists at Asia University and Chung Shan Medical University recently found that heavy air pollution increases the likelihood of developing oral cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Investigative Medicine".
Other known negative effects of air pollution
Increased air pollution worldwide is associated with a variety of health problems. Various studies have previously found that these negative effects include an increased risk of dementia, asthma and even changes in the heart structure.
Data from more than 480,000 men were evaluated
Very high levels of air pollution increase the risk of developing oral cancer, the doctors from Taiwan explain. For the current study, data on air pollution from 2009, which came from 66 different air quality monitoring stations across the country, was analyzed. These data were combined with the health records of more than 480,000 men over 40 years of age. A total of 1,1617 cases of oral cancer were found among the participants.
Exposure to fine dust has been closely examined
The research team focused particularly on tiny fine dust particles, which are referred to as PM2.5. The participants' exposure to these fine dust particles was recorded together with the places of residence of those affected. The men were then divided into four groups depending on the exposure level. The experts also take into account other factors such as age, ozone levels, levels of other particles, smoking status and whether the men chewed Betel Quid. This mixture of various ingredients such as areca nut and betel leaf is a common practice in many parts of Asia and increases the risk of oral cancer.
Oral cancer risk was partially increased by up to 43 percent
The researchers found that men who were exposed to the highest PM2.5 levels had an increased risk of oral cancer. Compared to men exposed to an average of 26.54 micrograms (μg) per cubic meter (m3) of air per year, those who were exposed to concentrations of 40.37 μg / m3 or more were 43 percent more likely to develop from oral cancer to.
Which value of PM2.5 should not be exceeded annually?
The mechanism responsible for the increased cancer risk remains unclear, and further investigation is now required. The World Health Organization (WHO) states on this topic that the average annual PM2.5 values should not exceed 10 μg / m3. However, air pollution is extremely high in many large cities around the world. According to the WHO, the average annual exposure to PM2.5 is 86 μg / m3 in Kabul, 85 μg / m3 in Beijing and 122 μg / m3 in Delhi.
What were the limitations of the study?
However, the study has limitations, including the fact that men's previous exposure to air pollution has not been taken into account. Air pollution has previously been linked to various types of cancer, including breast, liver, lung and pancreatic cancer. Therefore, the impact on the risk of oral cancer is not really surprising, the researchers say. However, since people in Europe do not chew Betel Quid, the extremely high risk of oral cancer could be unique to Taiwan. (as)