High levels of air pollution could increase the chances of developing oral cancer, new research has found.
Smoking, drinking and oral sex have all been linked with increasing the chances of having oral cancer.
This study, carried out by researchers in Taiwan, found that fine particulate matter (PM2.5) could also increase chances.
‘This study, with a large sample size, is the first to associate oral cancer with PM2.5,’ researchers including Shou-Jen Lan, professor at the Asia University, said.
‘These findings add to the growing evidence on the adverse effects of PM2.5 on human health.’
Populations exposed to high concentrations of PM2.5, increased their chances of developing oral cancer by 43%.
However, the research claims ‘the mechanism by which this occurs is not yet clearly understood’.
The World Health Organisation says PM2.5 levels should not exceed 10μg/m3, while annual levels in central London are double this.
‘Air pollution has previously been linked with several types of cancer,’ Professor Frank Kelly, chair in environmental health at King’s College London, said to The Guardian.
‘It’s therefore not surprising this new study in Taiwan has made a possible link with mouth cancer.
‘However, given that air pollution concentrations and smoking incidence are much lower in the UK and we don’t chew betel all suggest that the increased risk of developing mouth cancer may be unique to Taiwan.’
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