cancer

Agency Cites Air Pollution as a Lung Cancer Risk

WHO Encourages a Global Effort to Instill Regulation and Clean the Air After Classifying Outdoor Air Pollution as Cancer Risk

WHO encourages a global effort to instill regulation and clean the air after classifying outdoor air pollution as cancer-causing.

Outdoor air pollution is officially classified as a carcinogen, according to a recent report by the World Health Organization. WHO came to the conclusion air pollution is cancer-causing after evaluating more than 1,000 scientific publications and reviewing significant evidence connecting particulate exposure and lung cancer. Approximately 223,000 of the global population died of lung cancer in 2010 and WHO expects this rate will increase with the rising amount of particulate matter in the air. Air pollution also increases the risk of developing heart and respiratory diseases as well as bladder cancer, according to ABC News.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of WHO responsible for cancer research, said air pollution is not only the most prevalent cause of cancer risk in the environment but also the worst.

Kurt Straif, head of the IARC department that analyzes carcinogens, said the air people breathe in becomes mixed with cancer-causing substances, which can include gases and particulate matter. One of the major risks of air pollution is having fine particles that can become embedded deep within the lungs.

“The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution are transportation, stationary power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions, and residential heating and cooking,” the IARC stated in the report. “There are effective ways to reduce air pollution and, given the scale of the exposure affecting people worldwide, this report should send a strong signal to the international community to take action without further delay.”

IARC encourages the international community to adopt stricter limits of pollution and for governments to enact public policy to reduce emissions of particulates and other potential harmful substances.

How the Manufacturing Sector Can Help Improve Air Quality

IARC suggests the main way to prevent this rising cancer rate is to clean the air, according to CNN. The manufacturing sector is reported to contribute to the widespread air pollution, which puts developing countries that are in the process of industrializing at the most risk. Manufacturers can help improve air quality through removing contaminants at the source with fume extractors, which will help maintain air quality of indoor facilities to make it safer for workers. Installing air purification systems will help extract pollutants that mix with outdoor air, including hazardous fumes, gases and particulates, before they make their way outside facilities. Portable air cleaners are also effective in removing airborne contaminants before they enter the lungs of employees, which could mean the difference between developing health problems later on.

Cancer is Manufacturing’s Silent & Deadly Occupational Hazard

Cancer is Manufacturing’s Silent & Deadly Occupational Hazard 1

Cancer. The word evokes many feelings in people, sadness, and fear top the list. It’s no wonder. On a global scale, nearly 13 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Cancer is the leading cause of death in developed countries, including the United States. (1)

This group of diseases is caused by the division of abnormal cells, which causes malignant growths (or tumors) in specific parts of the body. A malignancy can increase in size, spreading the disease throughout the body. This often results in death.

Carcinogens in the Workplace

Many causes play a role in the growth of malignancies. A person’s risk of developing any given cancer is influenced by a combination of factors. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on exposure to cancer-causing agents in the workplace. In most instances, exposure is due to poor indoor air quality (IAQ).

Millions of U.S. workers are exposed to substances that have been tested and deemed carcinogenic. Based on research studying a link between cancer and occupational exposures, the CDC has reported these findings:

It has been estimated that 3-6% of all cancers worldwide are caused by exposure to carcinogens in the workplace. Using cancer incidence numbers in the U.S, this means that in 2012 (the most recent year available), there were between 45,872 and 91,745 new cancer cases that were caused by past exposure in the workplace. Cancers that occur as a result of exposures in the workplace are preventable if exposures to known or suspected carcinogens can be reduced. (1)

Our science and medical communities have cautioned industries about specific substances that cause cancer (such as benzene, styrene, and asbestos, for example). In addition, the government has imposed indoor air quality regulations. Despite this, occupational exposures to carcinogens continue to exist. Researchers at the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified more than one hundred carcinogens of physical, biological, or physical nature. Experts continue to discover new carcinogens, many of them occupationally related. (2)

Education and Outreach

Occupational exposure to cancer-causing material is thought to account for about 4% of all cancers in the US. Though such exposure has decreased greatly over the past several decades (due to stricter government standards), current statistics may reflect historical exposures that are only now being identified.

Though knowledge and strict regulations exist for certain cancer-causing compounds, dusts, and particulates in the workplace, potential exposure can still occur through accidents, regulation violations, or unknown hazards. (3)

Educational outreach and dissemination of information has been consistent, but workers may still be unaware they are at risk. Factory production workers, in addition to manufacturing laborers, are particularly vulnerable. Production workers often repeat the same set of tasks for every product that comes down the assembly line. The repetitive nature of the process allows workers to become highly efficient at their assignments. (4) It also means that if carcinogenic exposure is present, they will be exposed day-after-day, week-after-week to toxic, disease-causing agents.

Many occupations hold a threat of contact with cancer-causing pollution, but some industries top out the list for cancer rates and exposure risks. Consider the following:

Occupations With The Highest Incidence Of Cancers Reported

Paint-Related Manufacturing – Bladder, Kidney, Lung, Lymphoma

Rubber-Related Manufacturing – Bladder, Larynx, Leukemia, Lung, Lymphoma

Plastics-Related Manufacturing – Kidney, Larynx, Liver (3)

In the paint industry, for example, there are thousands of chemical compounds used. Pigments, extenders, binders, additives, and solvents contain known cancer-causing agents such as toluene and xylene. Paint manufacture workers are potentially exposed to the chemicals found in the products they manufacture (5), as are laborers in the manufacture of rubber. Rubber workers handle raw materials in day-to-day operations. Production workers in both groups are exposed to dust and fumes via inhalation and dermal contact. (6) This exposure translates to a significant risk of contracting the occupational illness, even cancer.

Working in these industries needn’t be a cancer threat, however. The EPA recommends eliminating indoor air pollutants through air cleaning source control and ventilation. (7)

At AIR Systems Inc., we serve our customers by identifying areas of potential risk. We supply stellar products that will properly ventilate work areas and remove air-impurities. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate with one of our skilled and experienced clean air specialists.

Dry Cleaning Chemical Solution May Cause Cancer Risks

Dry Cleaning Chemical Solution May Cause Cancer Risks 1

Drying cleaning employers have the obligation to identify and protect their employees from various chemical risks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a risk assessment report on a cleaning chemical called trichloroethylene (TCE), which may cause health problems in workers who work in dry cleaning shops. To limit exposure to TCE and other chemicals, employers should invest in ambient air cleaners that will extract air pollutants and replace them with clean air to enhance worker health and productivity.

In the EPA’s risk assessment, the agency said there are health concerns related to cancer from exposure to TCE. About 300,000 employees and occupational bystanders may be at risk for TCE exposure at dry cleaning shops as these workplaces may use TCE for commercial vapor degreasing and spot cleaning, according to the EPA. Of the two types of exposure, contact with commercial degreasers may put workers more at risk for developing cancer than when using the chemical for spot cleaning.

Avoid health effects of TCE exposure with air cleaners

There are numerous health effects associated with TCE exposure, which include chronic diseases. Chemicals in dry cleaning businesses can be absorbed through the skin, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Workers who have prolonged exposure to this chemical may have problems with their livers, kidneys and reproductive systems.

With the report revealing the health effects of TCE, the EPA recommends improving regulations for toxic chemicals.

“EPA calls on Congress to enact legislation that strengthens our current federal toxics law,” Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a statement. “Until that time, we are using the best available science to assess and address chemical risks of TCE that now show that it may harm human health and the environment.”

Employers that want to guard their workers against the chronic health effects of TCE may want to invest to ambient air cleaners that mount onto the ceiling. This air purifying equipment works by removing air impurities and then exhausting the clean air out into the workplace.

Air purification solutions could help extract other chemicals and solvents used in dry cleaning operations. According to OSHA, perchloroethylene (PERC) may cause cancer as well as cognitive problems if workers are exposed. 

Indoor air pollution and air quality news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.