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A body of literature has suggested an elevated risk of lung cancer associated with particulate matter and traffic-related pollutants.
Objective: We examined the relation of lung cancer incidence with long-term residential exposures to ambient particulate matter and residential distance to roadway, as a proxy for traffic-related exposures.
Methods: For participants in the Nurses’ Health Study, a nationwide prospective cohort of women, we estimated 72-month average exposures to PM2.5, PM2.5–10, and PM10 and residential distance to road. Follow-up for incident cases of lung cancer occurred from 1994 through 2010. Cox proportional hazards models were adjusted for potential confounders. Effect modification by smoking status was examined.
Results: During 1,510,027 person-years, 2,155 incident cases of lung cancer were observed among 103,650 participants. In fully adjusted models, a 10-μg/m3 increase in 72-month average PM10 [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.04; 95% CI: 0.95, 1.14], PM2.5 (HR = 1.06; 95% CI: 0.91, 1.25), or PM2.5–10 (HR = 1.05; 95% CI: 0.92, 1.20) was positively associated with lung cancer. When the cohort was restricted to never-smokers and to former smokers who had quit at least 10 years before, the associations appeared to increase and were strongest for PM2.5 (PM10: HR = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.32; PM2.5: HR = 1.37; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.77; PM2.5–10: HR = 1.11; 95% CI: 0.90, 1.37). Results were most elevated when restricted to the most prevalent subtype, adenocarcinomas. Risks with roadway proximity were less consistent.
Conclusions: Our findings support those from other studies indicating increased risk of incident lung cancer associated with ambient PM exposures, especially among never- and long-term former smokers.
Puett, R. C., J. E. Hart, J. D. Yanosky, D. Spiegelman, M. Wang, J. A. Fisher, B. Hong, & F. Laden (2014) Particulate Matter Air Pollution Exposure, Distance to Road, and Incident Lung Cancer in the Nurses’ Health Study Cohort, Environ Health Perspect. 122(9):926–932.