Beijing Air Pollution Controls Would Cut lung Cancer Cases by Half

08 Feb 2011: Beijing Air Pollution Controls
Would Cut Lung Cancer Cases by Half

If enacted permanently, Chinese initiatives to control air pollution during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing would reduce by almost half the lifetime risk of lung cancer, a new study says. In the metropolitan area of Pollution at Beijing Olympics Getty Images Haze in Beijing22 million people that might mean about 10,000 fewer cases of lung cancer — roughly 11,400 cases compared to 21,000 cases if pollution controls are not enacted. Restricted vehicle use, reduced coal burning and, in some cases, the closing of dirtier factories “definitely reduced” the emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — PAHs — during the Olympics, said Staci Simonich, a researcher at Oregon State University and one of the authors of the report published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. “That’s a positive step, and it shows that if such steps were continued it could lead to a significant reduction in cancer risk from these types of pollutants,” Simonich said. According to the study, conducted by scientists at Oregon State and Peking University in Beijing, these pollutants have risen steadily in the developing world as a result of industrial growth. Some pollution-control measures adopted during the Olympics have continued, including reductions in the burning of coal.