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12 2018 Environment international

The fraction of lung cancer incidence attributable to fine particulate air pollution in France: Impact of spatial resolution of air pollution models.


Kulhánová I, Morelli X, Le Tertre A, Loomis D, Charbotel B, Medina S, Ormsby JN, Lepeule J, Slama R, Soerjomataram I


Outdoor air pollution is a leading environmental cause of death and cancer incidence in humans. We aimed to estimate the fraction of lung cancer incidence attributable to fine particulate matter (PM) exposure in France, and secondarily to illustrate the influence of the input data and the spatial resolution of information on air pollution levels on this estimate. The population attributable fraction (PAF) was estimated using a nationwide spatially refined chemistry-transport model with a 2-km spatial resolution, neighbourhood-scale population density data, and a relative risk from a published meta-analysis. We used the WHO guideline value for PM exposure (10 μg/m) as reference. Sensitivity analyses consisted in attributing the nation-wide median exposure to all areas and using alternative input data such as reference of PM exposure level and relative risk. Population-weighted median PM level in 2005 was 13.8 μg/m; 87% of the population was exposed above the guideline value. The burden of lung cancer attributable to PM exposure corresponded to 1466 cases, or 3.6% of all cases diagnosed in 2015. Sensitivity analyses showed that the use of a national median of PM exposure would have led to an underestimation of the PAF by 11% (population-weighted median) and by 72% (median of raw concentration), suggesting that our estimates would have been higher with even more finely spatially-resolved models. When the PM reference level was replaced by the 5th percentile of country-scale exposure (4.9 μg/m), PAF increased to 7.6%. Other sensitivity analyses resulted in even higher PAFs. Improvements in air pollution are crucial for quantitative health impacts assessment studies. Actions to reduce PM levels could substantially reduce the burden of lung cancer in France.

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