Saturday, May 20, 2017

Increased cancer rate in US linked to bad environment

I saw this in the May 13-10, 2017 print issue of New Scientist

By Helen Thomson
May 8, 2017

Improving the worst environments in the US could prevent 39 in every 100,000 cancer deaths.

That’s according to the first study to address the impact of cumulative exposure to environmental hazards on cancer incidence in the US, which found strong links between poor environmental quality and increased rates of cancer.


Jyotsna Jagai at the University of Illinois and her colleagues investigated these links by comparing data from the Environmental Quality Index – a measure of cumulative environmental exposures between the years of 2000 and 2005 – with cancer incidence across the US from 2006 to 2010.

The results showed increases in cancer incidence with decreasing environmental quality. The link was clearest with prostate and breast cancer.


Even so, the data compiled by Jagai’s team can at least help identify which communities are most vulnerable to high cancer rates. However, this may be hampered by new legislative proposals, introduced in January, that seek to rein in federal collection of local area data.

Jagai and her team also warn that a bill introduced in February to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency, which provided the environmental data used in the study, will severely harm researchers’ abilities to further investigate the factors that contribute to disease.

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