The risk of lung cancer is higher among the people who live close to main roads in New Delhi. A new study has found that people living near to main roads in the national capital may have more chances of ‘lung cancer mortality’. This is due to the inhalation of particulate matter that contains trace elements such as nickel and chromium. The study was conducted by the scientists of IIT Delhi and IIT Kanpur, according to which the excess cancer risk, also known as ECR, was found 13-16 times higher than the ‘safe limit’ for children, whereas, it has hit the ‘tolerable limit’ for adults.
The study was published in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research of March 2018 edition. It was titled as ‘Chemical characterisation and quantitative assessment of source-specific health risk of trace elements in PM 1 at a road site of Delhi, India’. The report is a conclusion of the IIT scientists effort who studied the concentration of submicron aerosols or PM 1 collected between November 2009 and March 2010. It looked at the concentration of PM 1 at two sites – one on the road and another at an elevated site – near the IIT Delhi campus.
Here is what the study said:
• The study analysed the contents of PM 1 particles and calculated the ECR through inhalation.
• It found that in winters 83 percent of PM 2.5 was composed of PM 1.
• It also said that this indicated the dominance of combustion activity-generated particles.
• It was found that the particulate matter is sufficient to cause death and the fine dust that can even clog lungs.
• Researchers found that the ECR for nickel and chromium was in the tolerable limit (10-4) for adults.
• While it is 13-16 times higher than the safe limit (10-6) for children.
• ECR of lead was found to be 16 percent higher at the elevated site than to road site for both adults and children.
• The ECR of nickel was found 14 times higher at the road site compared to the elevated site.
• The average daily dose (ADD) was also calculated. Among all, the ADD for nickel was found to be highest for children and adults
• ADD for nickel was 11 times higher on the road, than at the elevated site.
• It was also found that the potential health risk due to long-term exposure to vehicle exhaust emissions and re-suspended road dust and emissions from wear and tear of vehicle parts is a threat to pedestrians.
• People working in commercial establishments near roads, and residents living nearby are also under major threat to health risks.