European Environment Agency: 10% of cancer cases

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Nearly 10% of cancers in Europe are linked to pollution in various forms, the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned on Tuesday, stressing that most cases can be prevented, according to AFP.

“Exposure to air pollution, second-hand smoke, ultraviolet light, asbestos, certain chemicals and other pollutants is at the root of 10% of cancer cases in Europe,” the European agency said in a statement.

This level could drop sharply if existing policies were rigorously implemented, according to the organization.

“All environmental and occupational carcinogenic risks can be reduced,” said EEA expert Gerardo Sanchez, before publishing a report – the agency’s first report on the link between cancer and the environment. “Cancers caused by the environment and radiation or carcinogenic chemicals can be reduced to an almost negligible level,” he told a news conference.

According to the agency, air pollution is responsible for 1% of cases and about 2% of deaths – a level that rises to 9% in lung cancers.

Recent studies have found “a correlation between long-term exposure to particulate matter, a major air pollutant, and leukemia in adults and children,” the European organization said.

Radon – a natural radioactive gas that can be inhaled into poorly ventilated homes – is thought to be responsible for 2% of cancers on the continent.

According to the European agency, ultraviolet rays – mainly of solar origin, but also artificial – are responsible for almost 4% of all cancers, especially melanoma, a rare form of skin cancer that has grown strongly in Europe in recent decades. for years.

Certain chemicals used in the workplace and released into the environment are also carcinogenic.

Lead, arsenic, chromium, pesticides, bisphenol A and per- and polyfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) are some of the most dangerous substances for Europeans’ health, as is asbestos, which has been banned in the European Union (EU) since 2005. still in certain buildings.

In the EU, 2.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 1.3 million die from it. The European continent, which accounts for 10% of the world’s population, accounts for 23% of new cancers and 20% of cancer deaths worldwide.