Car Fumes Might Be the New Silent Killer

Car Fumes Might Be the New Silent Killer

This Product May Be Quietly Killing People

( – Smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. For those who don’t smoke, it now appears that air pollution may be the biggest hazard instead. What in the air is causing the problem? Research compiled under the TRACERx Lung Study, a research initiative that first began investigating potential lung cancer therapies in 2013, suggests the problem may actually stem from fine particulate matter within auto emissions.

Scientists concluded that small particulate matter, or PM2.5, which measures approximately 3% of the width of a human hair, causes inflammation in the lungs. This swelling stimulates dormant cells responsible for the disease.

Francis Crick Institute Professor Charles Swanton told the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) conference attendants in Paris that across the world, more people are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution than toxic chemicals in cigarettes.

Swanton and his team of researchers studied data from over 400,000 non-smokers as part of the Cancer Research UK funded TRACERx initiative. They concluded that higher levels of PM2.5 in a given area raised the risk of lung cancer for individuals living there.

Unlike smoking, these air impurities don’t cause genetic changes in cells. Instead, they wake dangerous inactive cells from their typical sleeping state. This discovery could change how medical professionals approach the problem of lung cancer.

At the ESMO conference, Swanton acknowledged that air pollution presents a comparatively more minor lung cancer risk than smoking. He stated that solving climate health would go a long way toward solving human health challenges.

In the meantime, studies on mice show that a specific inflammatory protein released an immune response to the harmful particles in the air. A new drug blocked the protein, making people less susceptible to the disease.

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