SCEINCE

New US map reveals air pollution causing cancer


One of the leading causes of death globally, cancer has taken countless lives in the past and will continue to do so. In 2018, 18.1 million new cases and 9.5 million cancer deaths were reported worldwide. Scientists estimate that by 2040 the number of new cancer cases per year is equal is expected to rise to 29.5 million and the number of cancer-related deaths to 16.4 million. This means a lot of pain and suffering for cancer patients as well as for their families and loved ones.

While the most common causes of cancer include genetic mutations, a large proportion of cancers are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. That’s right, living in polluted areas where air and water are polluted can easily lead to cancer.

ProPublica, a non-profit organization, is now analyzing data on how much toxic air pollution is emitted by industrial facilities and publishing the most detailed map of cancer-causing industrial air pollution in the United States, ever. And it doesn’t look bright. The hazardous chemicals that these facilities produce in these cities and states could add more the risk of cancer in their respective communities.

Source: ProPublica

Creating a detailed map of air pollution with cancer

The analysis behind the map is a summary result of a five-year EPA data using the reports between 2014 and 2018, combined with more than 1,000 toxic hotspots in the United States. Worryingly, about 250,000 people living in these hotspots who are exposed to these chemicals may be at serious risk for cancer.

ProPublica reports that the thousands of facilities shown on the map are considered major sources of toxic air pollution and that they must submit a report to the government each year on their chemical emissions.

Although these data were open to the public in previous years in the form of long pages of reports, they were difficult for the public to understand. By creating a national map that shows the calculated unnecessary risk of cancer from industrial sources, ProPublica aims to spread the worrying facts to larger masses.

Viewing the percentage of industrial emissions in your hometown is relatively easy. Just click on a hotspot (if you live in one), search for your city on the map to see the situation, or just enter your address to find the predicted level of cancer risk associated with air pollution at your location.





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