Nightly News   |  October 17, 2013

Air pollution causes lung cancer, WHO agency announces

Experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organization, have concluded that exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer and increases the risk for bladder cancer. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> health, health is in the news tonight. we mentioned this earlier. it's specifically about the danger in the air all around us. the world health organization is warning tonight that air pollution is, indeed, a major cause of cancer. our report from our chief medical editor, dr. nancy sneiderman.

>> reporter: from car exhaust and traffic across the country to industrial stacks spewing smoke and haze halfway around the world , we know air pollution isn't good for us, but today there is more proof of just how bad it is. the world health organization experts now conclude for the first time that exposure to outdoor air pollution and particulate matter cause lung cancer .

>> we can't help the air we breathe and we're all responsible for it. so i think it's important to make the point that this really needs collective public health action to solve the problem.

>> reporter: the industrial revolution saw the advent of air pollution . and while the united states has cleaned up its air thanks to environmental regulations, air pollution is still a significant risk factor for respiratory illnesses and heart disease . this united states map shows our air pollution hot spots. the red dot shows air quality changes by climate and season. this shows summer where the highest level of air pollution is along the eastern part of the country. and in winter, california fares the worst when it comes to air pollution and particulate matter . experts liken the air pollution in some places to secondhand smoke , and it's cutting short lives in the most polluted places on earth, notably places like china and india, and globally, brian, that means more than 200,000 people die every year because of air pollution alone.

>> that's the scariest part where people can't escape it. dr.