A recent study reveals the existence of a link between nitrogen dioxide and the occurrence of breast cancer in women in North America and Europe.
It is well known, air pollutants are responsible for lung cancer, but they are also a factor in the development of breast cancer, reveals a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. According to data of the research carried out by the team of Inserm research director Rémy Slama at the Institute for the Advancement of Biosciences (IAB, Inserm / Cnrs / University of Grenoble Alpes), near “1,700 cases of breast cancer are attributable each year in France to exposure to atmospheric pollutants”.
These data are the result of a work of synthesis called, meta-analysis, which made it possible to provide an average of the relationships described by each study. The researchers thus worked on “A dose-response relationship between pollution and the occurrence of breast cancer”. Conclusions: for the three pollutants considered, namely suspended particles with a diameter of less than 10 microns (PM10), PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the researchers identified “Respectively 27, 32 and 36 associations linked to the occurrence of breast cancer, all reported in women in North America and Europe”.
However, it emerges that among these three main pollutants studied, nitrogen dioxide stands out with “A level of proof is the highest”. “Nitrogen dioxide is mainly emitted by combustion processes of fossil fuels, such as those of thermal engines of vehicles and district heating”, can we read in the study.
An economic cost of 600 million to one billion euros
In addition, researchers estimate that nearly 1,700 cases of breast cancer, or 3% of cases occurring annually in France, would be attributed to this exposure to nitrogen dioxide. This air pollution would generate an economic cost of 600 million to one billion euros per year “Cumulating tangible costs (those linked to treatment) and intangible costs (those linked to death, loss of quality of life and patient suffering)”.