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Mutat Res. 2006 Sep 28;608(2):157-62. Epub 2006 Jul 13.

Human cancer from environmental pollutants: the epidemiological evidence.

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  • 1International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert-Thomas, 69008 Lyon, France.


An increased risk of mesothelioma has been reported among individuals experiencing residential exposure to asbestos, while results for lung cancer are less consistent. Several studies have reported an increased risk of lung cancer risk from outdoor air pollution: on the basis of the results of the largest study, the proportion of lung cancers attributable to urban air pollution in Europe can be as high as 10.7%. A causal association has been established between second-hand tobacco smoking and lung cancer, which may be responsible for 1.6% of lung cancers. Radon is another carcinogen present in indoor air, which may be responsible for 4.5% of lung cancers. An increased risk of bladder might be due to water chlorination by-products. The available evidence on cancer risk following exposure to other environmental pollutants, including, pesticides, dioxins and electro-magnetic fields, is inconclusive.

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