Indoor air pollution and risk of lung cancer among Chinese female non-smokers

Cancer Causes Control. 2013 Mar;24(3):439-50. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-0130-8. Epub 2013 Jan 12.


Purpose: To investigate indoor particulate matter (PM) level and various indoor air pollution exposure, and to examine their relationships with risk of lung cancer in an urban Chinese population, with a focus on non-smoking women.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study in Taiyuan, China, consisting of 399 lung cancer cases and 466 controls, of which 164 cases and 218 controls were female non-smokers. Indoor PM concentrations, including PM(1), PM(2.5), PM(7), PM(10), and TSP, were measured using a particle mass monitor. Unconditional logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals after adjusting for age, education, annual income, and smoking.

Results: Among non-smoking women, lung cancer was strongly associated with multiple sources of indoor air pollution 10 years ago, including heavy exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at work (aOR = 3.65), high frequency of cooking (aOR = 3.30), and solid fuel usage for cooking (aOR = 4.08) and heating (aOR(coal stove) = 2.00). Housing characteristics related to poor ventilation, including single-story, less window area, no separate kitchen, no ventilator, and rarely having windows open, are associated with lung cancer. Indoor medium PM(2.5) concentration was 68 μg/m(3), and PM(10) was 230 μg/m(3). PM levels in winter are strongly correlated with solid fuel usage for cooking, heating, and ventilators. PM(1) levels in cases are more than 3 times higher than that in controls. Every 10 μg/m(3) increase in PM(1) is associated with 45 % increased risk of lung cancer.

Conclusions: Indoor air pollution plays an important role in the development of lung cancer among non-smoking Chinese women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / statistics & numerical data*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution