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Outdoor air pollution

IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, No. 109


Lyon (FR): International Agency for Research on Cancer; .
ISBN-13: 978-9283201472ISBN-13: 978-9283201755ISBN-13: 978-9283213321

This volume of the IARC Monographs provides an evaluation of the carcinogenicity of outdoor air pollution.

Outdoor air pollution is a complex mixture of pollutants originating from natural and anthropogenic sources, including transportation, power generation, industrial activity, biomass burning, and domestic heating and cooking. The mix of pollutants in outdoor air varies widely in space and time, reflecting the diversity of sources and the influence of atmospheric processes. Commonly measured air pollutants include particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10), nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide; the concentration of particulate matter is often used as an indicator of pollution levels. Millions of people worldwide are exposed to outdoor air pollution at levels that substantially exceed existing health-based guidelines.

This evaluation is the culmination of a series that has examined individual pollutants that are contained in the mixture of outdoor air. Related previous evaluations have been published in IARC Monographs Volumes 92, 93, 95, 100C, 100E, 103, and 105.

An IARC Monographs Working Group reviewed epidemiological studies, animal cancer bioassays, and mechanistic data to assess the carcinogenic hazards of exposure to outdoor air pollution and particulate air pollution.


This publication represents the views and expert opinions of an IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, which met in Lyon, 8-15 October 2013

Lyon, France - 2016


In 1969, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) initiated a programme on the evaluation of the carcinogenic risk of chemicals to humans involving the production of critically evaluated monographs on individual chemicals. The programme was subsequently expanded to include evaluations of carcinogenic risks associated with exposures to complex mixtures, lifestyle factors and biological and physical agents, as well as those in specific occupations. The objective of the programme is to elaborate and publish in the form of monographs critical reviews of data on carcinogenicity for agents to which humans are known to be exposed and on specific exposure situations; to evaluate these data in terms of human risk with the help of international working groups of experts in carcinogenesis and related fields; and to indicate where additional research efforts are needed. The lists of IARC evaluations are regularly updated and are available on the Internet at http://monographs.iarc.fr/.

This programme has been supported since 1982 by Cooperative Agreement U01 CA33193 with the United States National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services. Additional support has been provided since 1986 by the European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion, initially by the Unit of Health, Safety and Hygiene at Work, and since 2014 by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014–2020) (for further information please consult: http://ec.europa.eu/social/easi). Support has also been provided since 1992 by the United States National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Department of Health and Human Services. The contents of this volume are solely the responsibility of the Working Group and do not necessarily represent the official views of the United States National Cancer Institute, the United States National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, or the European Commission.

Image 978-9283201755-C001-F001.jpg
Co-funded by the European Union

  • Published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France ©International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2016
  • Online publication, 17 December 2015
  • Distributed by WHO Press, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland (tel.: +41 22 791 3264; fax: +41 22 791 4857; e-mail: tni.ohw@sredrokoob).
  • Publications of the World Health Organization enjoy copyright protection in accordance with the provisions of Protocol 2 of the Universal Copyright Convention. All rights reserved.
  • Corrigenda to the IARC Monographs are published online at http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Publications/corrigenda.php
  • To report an error, please contact: rf.crai@omitide

The International Agency for Research on Cancer welcomes requests for permission to reproduce or translate its publications, in part or in full. Requests for permission to reproduce or translate IARC publications – whether for sale or for non-commercial distribution – should be addressed to the IARC Communications Group at: rf.crai@snoitacilbup.

The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the World Health Organization concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city, or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

The mention of specific companies or of certain manufacturers’ products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by the World Health Organization in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. Errors and omissions excepted, the names of proprietary products are distinguished by initial capital letters.

The IARC Monographs Working Group alone is responsible for the views expressed in this publication.

IARC Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

Outdoor air pollution/ IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, 2013.

(IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans ; volume 109)

1. Carcinogens, Environmental 2. Air Pollution - adverse effects 3. Environmental Exposure - adverse effects 4. Risk Factors 5. Neoplasms - etiology

I. International Agency for Research on Cancer

II. Series

ISBN 978 92 832 0147 2 (NLM Classification: W1)

ISSN 1017-1606

© International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2016. For more information contact publications@iarc.fr.
Bookshelf ID: NBK368024


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