study leader and an associate professor of chemistry and environmental
toxicology at Oregon State University,
along with Yuling Jia, study co-author and a postdoctoral research associate at
Oregon State University, and a team of researchers, discovered that the air pollution control measures placed
in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games could reduce the number of lifetime cases
of lung cancer by 10,000 if continued.
become heavily polluted due to the growing population, industrialization,
biomass burning and the use of fossil fuels. In Beijing, for example, the
number of vehicles increases by 13 percent every year. Approximately 300,000
people die in China annually due to lung cancer and heart disease associated
with air pollution. In Beijing alone, the current level of polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) would lead to 21,200 lifetime cases of lung
study, researchers examined the carcinogenic impact and chemical composition of
PAH pollutants, which is a group of compounds that come from most types of
combustion, including car exhaust and coal-burning power plants.
common pollutants found in China, but other teams of scientists from Oregon
State University have found that the PAH levels are so high in some Asian
nations that the compounds are traveling across the Pacific Ocean to the United
growing concerns regarding citizens in China and other Asian nations as well as
the United States, the Oregon State University researchers studied the effects
the air pollution control measures were having, and concluded that the
continuous use of these measures would have a significant impact on the overall
risk of lung cancer in citizens.
pollution was definitely reduced by the actions China took during the 2008
Olympics, such as restricting vehicle use, decreasing coal combustion and
closing some pollution-emitting factories," said Simonich. "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."
continued, the air pollution control measures could cut Beijing's number of
lifetime lung cancer risk by almost half, reducing the total by 10,000.
is definitely a health concern and one that deserves attention in China by both
the government and the public," said Jia.
This study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives.