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Pollution linked to 10% of cancer cases in Europe, according to a report

Nearly 10% of cancers in Europe are linked to pollution in various forms, warned the European Environment Agency (EEA) on Tuesday, June 28, which stresses that the majority of cases are preventable. “Exposure to air pollution, passive smoking, ultraviolet rays, asbestos, certain chemicals and other pollutants cause more than 10% of cancer cases in Europe »notes the agency in a press release.

However, this figure could drastically decrease if existing policies were rigorously implemented, particularly in the fight against pollution, according to the organization. “All environmental and occupational carcinogenic risks can be reduced”affirmed Gerardo Sanchez, an expert of the AEE, ahead of the publication of the report, the first of the agency on the link between cancer and environment.

“Cancers determined by the environment and due to radiation or chemical carcinogens can be reduced to an almost negligible level”, he assured during a press briefing. Recent studies have also detected “a correlation between long-term exposure to particulate matter, a major air pollutant, and leukemia in adults and children”underlines the European organization.

Worrying figures in Europe

Radon, a natural radioactive gas likely to be inhaled especially in poorly ventilated housing, is considered to be responsible for 2% of cancer cases on the continent.

According to the European agency, ultraviolet rays, of mainly solar but also artificial origin, are responsible for nearly 4% of all cancer cases, in particular melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer which has increased sharply in Europe in recent decades.

Some chemicals used in the workplace and released into the environment are also carcinogenic. Lead, arsenic, chromium, pesticides, bisphenol A and per- and polyfluorinated alkylated substances are among the most dangerous to the health of Europeans, along with asbestos, banned since 2005 in the European Union (EU) but still present in some buildings. In the EU, 2.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year and 1.3 million of them die. The continent, which represents barely 10% of the world’s population, accounts for 23% of new cases and 20% of deaths.

The World with AFP

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