Air Pollution Increases Cancer Risk for Americans

by: cancercompass

Exposure to toxic air pollution is increasing the risk of developing cancer for all U.S. residents, reports The New York Times.

The National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) was released this week by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Based on data from the assessment, the EPA estimates that all 285 million Americans have a cancer risk of greater than 10 in a million from air toxins. The average cancer risk for Americans is 36 in a million based on 2002 pollution levels.

Mobile emissions account for 30% of the overall cancer risk, reports the EPA assessment, drawing particular attention to benzene, a carcinogen from burning oil and coal. Benzene is also found in motor vehicle exhaust. Industry emissions account for approximately 25% of the overall risk. Background pollutants, including carbon tetrachloride, account for the remaining 45%. The source of these background pollutants is unknown.

The EPA is already working on an assessment that focuses on 2005 emissions data.