Science 2 min read

New Research Links Ultra-fine Particles With Brain Cancer



A recent study has finally linked tiny particles produced by moving vehicles with brain cancer.

Brain cancers are rare. In the United States, the incidence of the disease is six cases per 100,000. By comparison, breast cancer and prostate cancer are 125 per 100,000 and 120 per 100,000, respectively.

Although we know little about the causes of brain cancer and brain tumor, health professionals have some theories. These include exposure to X-rays and specific genetic syndrome.

Also, previous research has suggested that ultrafine particles produced by vehicles can carry carcinogen chemicals to the brain. However, the link between brain cancer and these nanoparticles has remained hazy until now.

According to a newly published paper in the journal Epidemiology, a one-year increase in pollution exposure of 10,000 nanoparticles per cubic centimeter increased the risk of brain cancer by over 10 percent.

A professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain, who was not involved in the study, Jordi Sunyer said:

“This is an important finding, given that UFPs are directly emitted by combustion cars, and several studies in animals have shown UFPs could be more toxic than larger particles.”

Finding the Link Between UFP and Brain Cancer

For the study, the researchers examined medical records and air pollution exposure of 1.9 million adults in Toronto and Montreal. The research focused on a 25-year period, between 1991 and 2016.

During this time, the pollution level in the cities ranged from 6,000/cm3 to 97,000/cm3. Analysis of the record shows a strong correlation between brain cancer and nanoparticles.

According to the lead author of the study, Scott Weichenthal, higher exposure to UFP increases the chances of brain cancer. To be precise, residents living with pollution of 50,000/cm3 have a 50 percent higher risk of brain cancer than those living with 15,000/cm3.

What’s more, the result was “surprisingly consistent,” says the Weichenthal.

With that said, the researcher points out that the study is the first of its kind. So, other researchers must replicate it to confirm the findings. Also, while the extensive research suggests strong evidence, it didn’t establish a causal link.

We don’t know a lot about the causes of brain tumors, so any environmental factors we can identify are helpful in increasing understanding,” Weichenthal concluded.

Read More: Air Pollution Can Accelerate Progression of Emphysema of the Lung

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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