- Natural phenomena (volcanic eruptions, forest fires, etc.) but above all human activities (industry, transport, agriculture, residential heating, etc.) are the source of emissions of pollutants, in the form of gas or particles, into the atmosphere .
- Air pollution is said to kill 8.8 million people per year, including 67,000 in France.
A new study, conducted by French researchers at the Center Léon Bérard, clearly demonstrates the impact of long-term exposure to BaP (benzo[a]pyrene) on breast cancer.
Awareness of the impact of air pollution on health
A real breakthrough, according to Amina Amadou, first author of the article and researcher in the Cancer Prevention and Environment department of the Léon Bérard Center. “Awareness of the impact of air pollution on health is growing. While the effects on health in general are well known (decrease in life expectancy, increase in mortality), links with the various cancers, in particular breast cancer, have not been established “, she explains in the preamble.
The benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) is an endocrine disruptor formed during the incomplete combustion of organic matter (poorly controlled combustion of wood, burning of plants in the open air, automobile exhaust or cigarette smoke, for example).
The journeys of nearly 100,000 women analyzed
In this project, the research team evaluated the associations between exposure to BaP and the risk of breast cancer in the general population, according to the menopausal status of women, molecular subtypes, stage and the degree of differentiation of breast cancer. “This was a cohort of about 100,000 women born between 1925 and 1950, followed since 1990. Every 2 to 3 years, they filled out and returned paper questionnaires”, details Amina Amadou. “They were questioned about their lifestyle (diet, physical activity, sedentary lifestyle, tobacco, alcohol, taking drugs, hormonal treatments, etc.), their environment, their residential history (places of life and work), and on the evolution of their physical and mental health “, continues the researcher.
Overall, cumulative exposure to BaP was significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This risk varies depending on menopausal status, hormone receptor status, and the degree of breast cancer differentiation. For example, in women who have undergone a menopausal transition (that is, pre-menopausal women on inclusion in the cohort who were postmenopausal at the time of breast cancer diagnosis), exposure to BaP increases the risk of breast cancer by 20%.
Limit air pollutant emissions
“The results of this study provide arguments for limiting the emissions of atmospheric pollutants, in particular pollutants having endocrine disrupting effects (which may impact the hormonal balance of women)”, concludes Amina Amadou.
Get the latest news delivered to your inbox
Follow us on social media networks