Air pollution a leading cause of cancer: WHO

"The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances," said Kurt Straif of the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

"We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths."

The IARC said a panel of top experts had found "sufficient evidence" that exposure to outdoor air pollution caused lung cancer and raised the risk of bladder cancer.

Although the composition of air pollution and levels of exposure can vary dramatically between locations, the agency said its conclusions applied to all regions of the globe.

The IARC said pollution exposure levels increased significantly in some parts of the world in recent years, notably in rapidly industrialising nations with large populations.

The most recent data, from 2010, showed that 223,000 lung cancer deaths worldwide were the result of air

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