Air pollution much worse than earlier thought

29th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

29 March 2006, BRUSSELS — A biological test has revealed there is a higher lung-cancer risk from pollution in Flemish air than previously thought.

29 March 2006

BRUSSELS — A biological test has revealed there is a higher lung-cancer risk from pollution in Flemish air than previously thought.

Conducted at 18 locations, the test also yielded other surprising results: identifying the rural Limburg towns of Leut and Peer as the Flanders' most polluted.

The lowest score was recorded in Kallo, an industrial area at the Antwerp port. And samples in coastal areas such as Nieuwpoort scored ranked surprisingly equal with urban areas such as Vilvoorde and the industrial Olen.

"The measurements show that everywhere in Flanders there is air pollution that represents a health risk," academic Vincent Du Four said.

He used a new method to conduct his tests, using a bacterial-based method. If carcinogens found in air samples are added to bacteria, the bacteria undergo measurable genetic changes.

The test showed that the amount of carcinogens in the air was six to 100 times higher than previously calculated via classical testing methods.

Du Four said life-long exposure to the pollution in some areas could cause 2,000 deaths per million people.

"And that is only an underestimate because we only tested organic materials with the biological test. Other polluted materials such as heavy metals were removed," he said.

The Ghent researcher said his test should used as standard method in future because it gives a more accurate reading.

The Flemish Institute for Technological Research is investigating whether test procedures should be adapted.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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