Research shows that air pollution is responsible for 1% of cases and 2% of deaths, a percentage that rises to 9% in the case of lung cancer.
About 10% of cancers in Europe are linked to pollution, in its various forms, and were preventable in most cases, the European Environment Agency (EEA) reported on Monday.
“Exposure to air pollution, passive smoking, ultraviolet rays, asbestos, certain chemicals and other pollutants are responsible for more than 10% of cancer cases in Europe,” the organization said. in a press release.
However, this number can decrease considerably if existing policies are rigorously updated, especially in terms of pollution control, according to the organization.
“All environmental and occupational carcinogenic risks can be reduced,” said Gerardo Sanchez, an expert at the EEA, of the paper, the agency’s first on the relationship between cancer and the environment.
“Cancers determined by the environment and due to radiation or chemical carcinogens can be reduced to an almost negligible level,” he said, during a meeting with the press.
According to EEA data, air pollution is responsible for 1% of cases and 2% of deaths, a percentage that rises to 9% in the case of lung cancer.
Recent studies have also found “a correlation between long-term exposure to particulate matter, a major air pollutant, and leukemia in adults and children,” the agency said.
Radon, a natural radioactive gas that can be inhaled, especially in poorly ventilated houses, is considered to be responsible for 2% of cancer cases on the Old Continent.
According to the Agency, ultraviolet rays – mainly of solar origin, but also artificial – are responsible for around 4% of all cases of cancer, in particular melanoma, a severe form of skin cancer which has increased sharply in Europe in recent decades.
Some chemicals used in the workplace and released into the environment are also carcinogenic.
Lead, arsenic, chromium, pesticides, bisphenol A and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), used among other applications in food, are among the most dangerous for the health of Europeans, as are asbestos, which is banned in the European Union. since 205, but still present in several buildings.
In the EU, every year 2.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer, of which 1.3 million die. Europe, which represents around 10% of the world’s population, has 23% of new cases and 20% of deaths.