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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
Original Articles

Single Pollutant Versus Surrogate Measure Approaches: Do Single Pollutant Risk Assessments Underestimate the Impact of Air Pollution on Lung Cancer Risk?

Röösli, Martin PhD; Künzli, Nino MD, PhD; Schindler, Christian PhD; Theis, Gaston PhD; Oglesby, Lucy PhD; Mathys, Patrick PhD; Camenzind, Markus; Braun-Fahrländer, Charlotte Prof. MD

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Abstract

Cancer risk as a result of air pollution may be quantified by different approaches. We compared the sum of unit risk based effects of single pollutants with an epidemiology-based method by using PM10 as a surrogate of the total air pollution. The excess rate for lung cancer cases attributable to an increase of 10 μg/m3 in average PM10 exposure was estimated from available cohort studies. Applying the epidemiology-based risk method to the air pollution situation in the Basel area (Switzerland) resulted in 13.3 (95% CI = 6.9–19.8) excess lung cancer cases per 100,000 person years. This estimate was considerably higher than the unit risk-based estimate yielding 1.1 (range, 0.45–2.8) cancer cases per 100,000 person years. We discuss these discrepancies in light of inherent differences between approaches in toxicology and epidemiology.

©2003The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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