Toxic effects

Air pollution considerably increases cancer risk in the US

Published: Monday 15 July 2002

Cancer in the air breathing toxic chemicals exposes all us citizens to a lifetime cancer risk at least 10 times greater than the level considered acceptable under us federal law, shows a recent assessment of the us Environmental Protection Agency (epa). The epa assessment has been based on emissions data from 1996 because inventories of toxic pollutants from this year are the most complete available to date.

The assessment covered 33 toxic air pollutants that are known to or suspected of causing cancer or other serious health problems. The results indicate that emissions from cars, trucks and non-road engines considerably contribute to the cancer risk from air toxics. For more than 100 million us citizens, toxic emissions from mobile sources alone were found to be responsible for an added lifetime cancer risk more than 10 times the accepted standard. According to experts, the findings should act as a wake up call for the government. "epa should take immediate action to reduce this long overlooked public health threat," says Emily Figdor, clean air advocate at the us Public Interest Research Group.

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