Air Pollution Called Human Carcinogen by WHO

With increasing industrial growth, tons of waste products are constantly produced and dumped into our environment. For long, things were ignored. But now these hazardous substances have started taking toll on our health.

It’s surprising that just taking your routine breaths may lead to cancer.

Pollutants in the air are now officially categorized as group 1 carcinogens. This group includes other human carcinogens as asbestos, silica dust, UV radiations and tobacco smoke.

You have a choice to smoke or not, drink or not, but you simply can’t opt-out of the air that you breathe.

Major Causes of Air Pollution

They are very much visible and include:

  • All industries- this is evident from the fact that the heavily industrialized cities are significantly more polluted.
  • Vehicular exhaust- increased number of private and public vehicles.
  • Power generation plants
  • Indoors appliances used for cooking and heating

Direct Effects on Health

Air pollutants may cause:

  • Respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis- by irritating the mucosal lining of the respiratory tubes. They elicit a hypersensitivity reaction when they come in contact with mucosa.
  • Heart illness, including increased B.P.
  • Sleep disturbances, irritability
  • Headaches
  • Stunted growth in kids, including low birth weight in newborn babies
  • Cancers, particularly that of lung since it is directly exposed to air pollutants.

Required Action

These recent reports are a strong signal to take action now. A community effort is required to make changes. On an individual level, you may start protecting yourself and your family by taking small steps:

  • Avoid unnecessary commuting whenever possible. Visit the nearby mall instead of going out too far.
  • Avoid heavy traffic times (rush hours) and areas where there are chances of inhaling more pollutants.
  • Choose your residence in a greener locality, away from industries and busy roads. If the locality you stay is polluted, consider avoiding ground levels for staying.
  • Opt for environment friendly heating methods like geothermic heating and housing insulation. Avoid direct coal or wood burning.
  • Keep your home clean and well ventilated.
  • Use chimney in your kitchen to minimize indoor sources of air pollution.