Environmental Causes of Cancer

We work to understand how smoking and air pollution — individually and in combination — contribute to the risk for lung, head and neck, and other cancers. Our goal is to inform the development of prevention and intervention strategies to reduce environmentally-induced cancer on a global scale.

A Global Threat

  • Pollution of the environment with carcinogens is a major contributing factor to the cancer burden worldwide. 
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 440,000 annual lung cancer deaths globally can be attributed to air pollution, including outdoor exposures from vehicle exhaust or industrial sources and household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels. 
  • Populations of lower socioeconomic status, Black, Indigenous and people of color, women, and children are generally at higher risk for such exposures both in the U.S. and globally.  

Reducing this Threat

We collaborate with partners in India to advance our research program in air pollution and cancer prevention. In addition, partnering with the Center for Cancer Epidemiology in Mumbai, India expands our current capacity for biomarker research to characterize the links between exposure to air pollution and cancer risk in nonsmokers