New IARC Monograph Discusses Carcinogenicity of Outdoor Air Pollution

Published December 30, 2015

A monograph published online this month by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies outdoor air pollution and particulate matter in outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans. The monograph discusses “sufficient evidence” that exposure to particulate matter in outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer, and supports a positive association between exposure to outdoor air pollution and an increased risk of bladder cancer. IARC previously evaluated several individual chemicals and mixtures that occur in outdoor air pollution—including diesel engine exhaust, solvents, metals, and dusts—but this is the first time that experts have classified outdoor air pollution as a cause of cancer, according to the agency.

IARC Monographs identify and evaluate environmental factors that can increase carcinogenic risks to humans. IARC is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, and government agencies worldwide use its monographs as scientific support for their actions to prevent exposure to potential carcinogens.

The newly published monograph is available on IARC’s website (PDF).