(NaturalNews) Living within 3 miles of a landfill significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer and other serious lung diseases, according to a recent study.
A team of researchers in Italy conducted the study, which involved nearly 250,000 subjects living within 3 miles of landfills, whose health was monitored for five years or more.
From Daily Mail:
“The researchers, from the Lazio Environmental Protection Agency in Rome, tracked levels of hydrogen sulphide – a poisonous gas produced by decomposing vegetation which typically smells of rotten eggs. They predicted that hydrogen sulphide levels were representative of the levels of all pollutants produced by the rubbish dumps.
“The team divided all those living within three miles of the sites into four groups, depending on how high their exposure to hydrogen sulphide was.
“Those in the group with the highest exposure levels were 34 per cent more likely to die with lung cancer than people who lived more than three miles away from the sites, the researchers found. And people in that group were 30 per cent more likely to die from other respiratory diseases. They were also 5 per cent more likely to receive hospital treatment for all respiratory diseases, including 9 per cent for asthma.
“Children were even more at risk, with an 11 per cent increased chance of being admitted to hospital for respiratory disease, and a 13 per cent higher risk of asthma. The Italian team tracked pollution levels to make sure they could match disease levels to exposure to toxins.”
Air pollution facts and figures
Landfills are but one source of deadly air pollution, however. Although air quality varies greatly from one place to another, it is estimated that the average person’s lifespan is shortened at least one or two years as a result of air pollution.
High levels of air pollution not only cause lung disease in adults and children, but also affect unborn children; another recent study found that pregnant women exposed to smog are more likely to produce stillborn babies.
Waiting in traffic and breathing the resultant air pollution can increase the risk of heart attack, according to the Lancet journal.
In the United States, more than 50,000 people die each year from air pollution, but the situation is even more serious in countries like China and India.
In India, air pollution kills more than half a million people annually, and accounts for 25 percent of deaths in the country.
In China, around 300,000 people die yearly from heart disease and lung cancer caused by air pollution.
Air pollution is estimated to cause 65 percent of all deaths in Asia.
By 2050, the expected yearly number of deaths from air pollution worldwide will exceed 6 million.
Air pollution is more harmful to humans than water or soil pollution, and ranks among the top ten causes of death worldwide.
A recent report by the American Lung Association found that although overall air quality in the United States appears to be improving, a total of 166 million Americans live in places where ozone and particle pollution are at unhealthy levels.
Good air quality starts at home
Although there is only so much one can do to affect the levels of outdoor air pollution exposure, it’s important to keep in mind that the air inside your home can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
Air pollution is a global issue, and although governments must play a large role in fighting the problem, individuals can have an impact at the local level. Start by making sure your home’s air quality is good, and do your part outdoors by riding a bike or taking public transportation as often as possible.
Get rid of the gas guzzler and buy a low-emission vehicle, and let your political representatives know that you care about air quality. If we all take a little more responsibility for clean air, we’ll all breathe a little easier and live longer lives.