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Prolonged Exposure to Air Pollution Can Lead to Lung Cancer, Purifiers Not 100% Effective: AIIMS Director

AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria, one of the world’s leading lung health experts, said worsening air quality in the capital leads to more emergency cases.

Sneha Mordani | CNN-News18

Updated:November 5, 2019, 10:59 AM IST
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Prolonged Exposure to Air Pollution Can Lead to Lung Cancer, Purifiers Not 100% Effective: AIIMS Director
News18 Creative by Mir Suhail.

New Delhi: Worsening air quality leads to a spike in emergency cases, with patients sometimes admitted to the ICU and put on ventilator support, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria has said, underlining the deadly impact of hazardous air pollution on the health of Delhiites.

Speaking to News18, Guleria, head pulmonologist at AIIMS and one of the world’s leading lung health experts, pointed out that Delhi’s air quality is bad throughout the year but is talked about only this time of the year.

“Every year, we talk about it around this time and then we forget about it. There has to be a sustainable solution. Most days of the year, Delhi air quality is not up to acceptable standards. It worsens this time because of various factors, including the weather… The source of pollution needs to be checked. We need to be environment-friendly. Part of the problem is vehicular pollution,” he said.

“Studies show that whenever air quality worsens, it leads to spike in emergency cases. Some patients even end up in ICU and on ventilator support. People who have been living in Delhi are suffering more because of long-term effects,” he added.

Guleria also confirmed the link between air pollution and rising number of cancer cases. “Prolonged exposure to outdoor air pollution can lead to lung cancer, so it is related,” he said.

Asked whether the same argument can be extended to pneumonia deaths, he said, “Breathing polluted air decreases immunity. Hence these infections, leading to higher chances of mortality.”

The AIIMS director also said that the air masks and purifiers are not 100% effective. “Masks have to be worn tight around the mouth and nose. It may give some protection, but it isn’t a permanent solution. Houses have to be completely sealed for purifiers to work. So purifiers give a limited benefit,” he said.

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