Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Connection Between the Two?

Last week, NPR published two stories within days of each other. One story, Air Toxics Raise Cancer Risk In U.S. Neighborhoods points to several communities in the US that are so polluted, the risk of cancer goes up. A week after that story ran, another story dealing with cancer ran on NPR, Non-Smokers Suffer Lung Cancer Stigma. In the audio you can hear the disgust in the women's voices of how they're often seen by their peers as having lung cancer but are "never smokers." One of the women is a marathon runner and the other is a rower at UC/Berkeley which means they spend long intervals of time outdoors training, breathing air deep into their lungs.

"But breathing very polluted air long-term can raise the risk of lung cancer as much as breathing second-hand smoke," said study co-author C. Arden Pope III, PhD, at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.." The study, Air Pollution Linked to Deaths From Lung Cancer clearly points out, "The risk comes when gases from auto exhaust and smokestacks combine with oxygen in the air to form very small particles that are breathed in."

"By the late 1980s and 1990s studies were showing that even at very low levels, air pollution was causing damage to health, the authors noted."

I'm still amazed at the number of convertibles I see sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway. I wonder how many of the non-convertibles have the ventilation pulling air from the outside, rather than recirculating the air within the car's cabin? I remember always having to change my Mom's ventilation setting in her car. I still wonder if this contributed to her getting cancer or whether it was one of the many other lifestyle aspects?

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