China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pollution blamed for China's cancer rise

Contaminated air and water getting worse, health experts say
Reuters Via Msnbc.com



Updated: 9:46 a.m. ET May 16, 2007

BEIJING - Worsening air and water pollution and frequent use of food additives and pesticides made cancer the top killer in China last year, state media reported on Wednesday, citing health experts.

The official Xinhua news agency said earlier in May that cancer topped the list of 10 most lethal diseases for urban and rural residents in China, according to a Health Ministry survey in 30 cities and 78 counties.

“The main reason is that the pollution of environment, water and air is getting worse day by day,” the agency quoted Chen Zhizhou, a health expert from a cancer research center, as saying.

“To pursue the growth in GDP, a lot of chemical and industrial enterprises were built along the rivers so that they could dump the waste through water easily,” Chen said.

“The contaminated water sources have directly affected soil, crops and food,” Chen said, adding that it, along with polluted air, is closely linked to the rise and high fatalities of cancer.

Farmers used additives on pigs, poultry and vegetables to make them grow faster, and the frequent use of fertilizer and pesticides were also to blame, the report said.

The survey showed cancer deaths had risen by 19 percent in cities and 23 percent in rural areas from 2005, the report said, without giving an exact figure.

The number of cancer patients in China has been soaring since the 1970s, and 80 percent of them died from common cancers of the lungs, liver and stomach, Chinese media have reported.

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