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Study links air pollution to lung cancer(16 posts)

Study links air pollution to lung cancerPack Meat
Mar 6, 2002 7:18 AM

Are cyclists at increased risk? I'm torn on this subject, obviously I want to do my part to decrease the amount of air pollution that's put into the air by riding to work but will that put me at even greater risk of lung cancer. Keeping in mind that I would be commuting around the same time that there is the largest number of vehicles on the road. And while riding your respiration rate is significantly higher than normal.

Should I do the right thing and take one for the team and put myself at greater risk for lung cancer while reducing the overall level of air pollution or do I wait for Federal mandates to come down and enforce across the board reductions in allowable pollution?

I'm not attempting to start an anticar campaign here I just need some discussion to help me consider all angles of the situation.

re: Study links air pollution to lung cancerhowl
Mar 6, 2002 7:34 AM
this is actually something i've been wondering about for awhile. i'm not about to stop commuting by bike, but i'm wondering about what i can do to decrease the risk.

while there's nothing i can do to prevent breathing in ozone or other gasses, it should be possible to filter out some of the particulate matter that seems to be important in the increased lung cancer rates.

does anyone out ther ride with one of those air-filter face masks? and if so, is there a source that you could suggest for getting one?

No, but I've seen 'em at army surplus and paint stores nmmorrison
Mar 6, 2002 7:55 AM
Those really don't filter out the right particulates.Pack Meat
Mar 6, 2002 9:23 AM
The paper or cloth filter cheap masks offer no protection against the size of particle that were talking about. They are only good for large dust particles and as face protection for painters and such. Some of the more expensive disposable masks, listed as N95, can filter out some particles that are small enough to be respirable. The masks should also be fit tested to be sure that they are providing some seal and air isn't just blowing by the edges.
Those really don't filter out the right particulates.howl
Mar 6, 2002 9:47 AM
seems like the only real way go is one of the more expensive reusable masks- possibly one with a carbon filter that might even get some amount of the gas pollutants (ozone, etc)

i'm looking at the respro techo, myself.
just need to find a local shop that sells one.
Those really don't filter out the right particulates.Pack Meat
Mar 6, 2002 10:19 AM
I bet if you do a check on the web you will find somebody marketing a enviro respirator.

The carbon filter will only filter out VOCs which you may find in smaller almost negligable quantities in the products of combustion. Try a N95 particulate respirator that also is rated for nuisance level welding odor. It filters many of the same products that you would find in vehicle combustion.
No sh!t, you think?cory
Mar 6, 2002 8:30 AM
AAArrrggghhh! I mean, I'm glad to see this getting some publicity that might encourage people, and eventually government, and maybe even W., to take it seriously, but...there was DOUBT?
I did a couple of stories on this five or six years ago, when Reno finally had to admit that you couldn't see the mountains half the time. The consensus of the experts I talked with was that there definitely IS an increased risk for people who breathe a lot--it just stands to reason that if you take in more pollutants, as you do during aerobic exercise, you have a greater chance of illness. Most (but not all) agreed that the benefits of exercise outweigh that risk. But we were talking Reno, only moderately scummy most days, not LA or Tokyo.
They also suggested some common-sense ways to reduce it: Avoid working out on heavy smog days, plan your rides away from traffic, wait until afternoon when the wind comes up. One that surprised me--we have a river running through town, and obviously it's at the lowest part of the valley. People jog and ride along the riverfront path, which may be the WORST place, because the pollution tends to settle in the low areas.
re: Study links air pollution to lung cancerEugene Kaudill
Mar 6, 2002 9:02 AM
You know my opinion on this, but I didn't think we wanted to talk about things like this? Is this board starting to wake up?
re: Study links air pollution to lung cancerPack Meat
Mar 6, 2002 9:31 AM
The big mistake that you made was not personalizing the issue. Why should it be important to the people on this board? That is the point you have to make to them, and you can't shove it down their throats. Cyclists are independent people they like to come to their own conclusions. Have some empathy and don't be a dumb a$$, then maybe somebody will listen to you and agree with you. Even the people that agree with you aren't on your side.
how longMJ
Mar 6, 2002 9:36 AM
have you been posting/reading here?

Pack Meat's comment about half the people who agree with you not supporting you is accurate

in England there's a cricket expression - 'play yourself in' - you should try and figure out what that means - then apply it, maybe under another handle if you want anyone to deal with you here
Interesting Stuff.L.O. McDuff
Mar 6, 2002 9:44 AM
I'd like to read the article and see the statistics when it comes out. In reading the Press Release, one thing gnawed at me. Although they said that the cause/effect between particulate matter and cancer was clear: "The association between fine particulate air pollution and increased cardiopulmonary and lung cancer mortality exists independent of other risk factors like smoking status, education, marital status, body mass and alcohol consumption." It will be interesting to see how much of the cause is related to occupational exposure and whether these cancer rates are declining concomitant with the decline in PM2.5 in the cities.

The good news is that US air is getting cleaner.
Follow-up: Don't Worry, Commute HappyL.O. Mc Duff
Mar 6, 2002 10:12 AM
Just looked at some of my reference materials. According to the EPA, On-road vehicles contribute only about 2-3 percent of the total PM-2.5 load.

Source: National Air Pollution Emission Trends, 1990-1998. USEPA 454/R-00-02; March 2000.
cars arent that bad?ishmael
Mar 6, 2002 10:35 AM
so car exhaust only is responsible for 2 or 3 percent of the polution?..i find that hard to believe, maybe im understanding you wrong...that doesnt include gases though does it? going to try a mask on friday, i commute about 8 miles each way in philadelphia and whenever i get somewhere im whezzy, im slightly asmatic, atleast i was in the hospital for it once...who can i sue
Not quite.L.O. McDuff
Mar 6, 2002 11:00 AM
No, the research that is mentioned above corellates lung cancer with a type of pollutant, PM-2.5. Specifically, the press release states; "The researchers found that larger particles and gaseous pollutants other than sulfur dioxide did not increase mortality risk". Since they have not published the full article yet, I am not sure how they quantified a mortality risk with sulfur dioxide.

EPA's numbers indicate that cars are responsible for only 2-3% of the total PM-2.5 (cancer causing) load. The earlier poster was wondering whether a dust mask (not gas mask) would help. Given these numbers and the type of mask he was talking about, I don't think it would add much to the safety equation.

Hats off for commuting into Philly each day. My brother did it for 10 years (70's and 80s). I guess I should offer a caveat: the PM-2.5 numbers probably change if you're stuck behind a SEPTA bus for several blocks ;-).
Follow-up: Don't Worry, Commute Happyhowl
Mar 6, 2002 10:57 AM
yup. and most of that probably comes from the even smaller group of diesel burning vehicles- as is well illustrated by being stuck behind a large truck or city bus as it pulls away from a stop light.
Follow-up: Don't Worry, Commute HappyEugene Kaudill
Mar 6, 2002 5:28 PM
If we could get more people to ride and out of their cars we would be at lesser risk.