NEW DELHI: From the carcinogenic chemicals present in the environment to the poisonous gases produced by the construction and rubber industry, ceramic and glass factories and mines, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has listed them all in a publication “Environmental and occupational determinants of lung cancer”. India reports 114,000 lung cancer cases each year, as per the National Cancer Registry, 2014.
Pesticides, Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), inadequate domestic waste incineration, coal burning indoors, second-hand smoke (passive smoking) and asbestos are some of the carcinogens among the environmental determinants. Agricultural and public health workers are mainly exposed to harmful pesticides or aflatoxin.
“India has a rule under which it is completely focusing on prevention of cancer due to tobacco or smoking but with the prevalence of environmental pollution and changing parameters of causes of cancers, there is a need of major intervention,” Dr Abhishek Shankar, Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Oncology, AIIMS told this newspaper. He is one of the contributors to the publication.
PM 2.5 levels have crossed the severe and above severe mark in metro cities including Delhi and Mumbai in the past few years, mainly in winter. According to the publication, India is only below China in terms of asbestos usage. It mentions that all types of asbestos are carcinogens and can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Bartenders, painters, workers in the construction, ceramic and glass industries, coal gasification and coke production, sandblasting, uranium mining, truck drivers, and traffic police work in the presence of carcinogens which cause lung cancer. Arsenic was highlighted as an environmental and occupational lung carcinogen. Exposure occurs among those who inhale dust from lead, gold, and copper ore mines and smelters. The article was published the journal Translational lung cancer research.
Construction workers may be exposed to several lung carcinogens, including asbestos and crystalline silica. Bricklayers and allied craft workers are at risk from diseases associated with heavy exposure to inorganic dust, mainly lung cancer