The European Environmental Agency (EEA) has made new calculations that have definitively proven the link between pollution and cancer.
Having reviewed existing medical literature on the effects of pollutants and contaminants on certain cancers, the agency now concludes that some 3 million cases of cancer each year are caused by pollution in our cities and workplaces.
The new report, entitled “Beating Cancer- the role of Europe’s environment,” states that “most environment and occupational cancer risks” can be overcome by eliminating pollution from European cities and changing our behaviour.
Moreover, some day-to-day pollutants which can cause cancer include air pollution, radon, ultraviolet radiation, tobacco smoke, and other substances and chemicals.
The EEA stated, “With more than 1.3 million deaths each year in the European Union, cancer weighs heavily on our society. The economic costs are also big, estimated at around €178 billion in 2018 alone.”
Along with this, the fight against cancer is not being increasingly viewed in light of Europe’s attempts to go green. The European Union’s “Cancer plan for Europe”, besides increasing screening and detection of cancers, aims to reduce environmental and preventable cancers. Up to 40 percent of cancers are avoidable, it says.
The European Union will work towards reducing tobacco consumption to just 5 percent of the EU population by 2040, reducing harmful alcohol intake by 190 percent by 10 percent by 2025, reducing environmental pollution, and improving health literacy and healthier lifestyles.
As per the report, air pollution is linked to about 1 percent of cancer cases in Europe and 2 percent of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer accounts for some 9 percent of deaths. Research cited by the report links long-term exposure to particulate matter, a major pollutant, with leukaemia in adults and children.
Furthermore, exposure to tobacco smoke, even in those who do not smoke, can increase the risk of cancer by up to 16 percent. Thirty-one percent of Europeans breathe in tobacco smoke at home, at work, during leisure time, at educational institutions, or in public places.