Study links lung cancer to diesel smoke

| 3/8/2002

A study released Mar. 6 links dying from lung cancer to long-term exposure to diesel smoke. Emissions from coal-fired power plants and factories also have been linked to lung cancer.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published the report concluding that people living in the most heavily polluted metropolitan areas have a 12 percent increased risk of dying of lung cancer than people in the least polluted areas. The study's authors reported that exposure to the tiny particles of industrial emissions and sulfate pollutants produced through combustion in power plants, refineries, diesel trucks and buses are comparable to inhaling second-hand smoke from a cigarette.

The particles are so tiny they are inhaled deeply and evade the lung's natural defenses, marking the first time researchers have linked long-term exposure to fine particles of pollution to lung cancer, according to a published report. The study involved the collection of air pollution data and personal health records of 500,000 U.S. adults from 1982 to 1998.