Air quality gains with technology can get nullified if vehicle numbers are not contained (Photo by Amit Shankar)The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization has declared that outdoor air pollution is group 1 carcinogen and that it is “carcinogenic to humans”[2]. This is the first time that the scientists have evaluated the air people breathe for its cancer-causing potential. This is a sharp departure from assessing only specific pollutants for cancer potency.

IARC has also separately evaluated particulate matter as a component of outdoor air pollution and classified it as class 1 carcinogen. It has found clinching evidences to suggest that particulate matter increases risk of lung cancer. The tag of group 1 carcinogen is given when there is “sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity” in humans. In 2010, IARC said 223,000 lung cancer deaths occurred worldwide.