The "urban factor" and lung cancer: cigarette smoking or air pollution?

Environ Health Perspect. 1978 Feb;22:17-21. doi: 10.1289/ehp.782217.


Data are presented which suggest that cigarette smoking, and to a lesser degree, urban pollution as indexed by benzo[a]pyrene are etiologic factors in the causation of lung cancer. The dose--response relationship to benzo[a]pyrene to lung cancer death rate in the urban community was estimated by using data on lung cancer deaths among coke oven workers. It appears to be an excess of 2--5 mumg/m3 of benzo[a]pyrene per 100,000 population, suggesting that a lifetime community exposure to benzo[a]pyrene on a continuing basis may have a greater impact on lung deaths in the community than that considered by the Royal College of Physicians.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants*
  • Benzopyrenes
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • London
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Smoking*
  • United States
  • Urban Population*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Benzopyrenes