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Association between particulate matter air pollution and lung cancer
  1. Zhenyu Zhang1,
  2. Dawei Zhu2,
  3. Bin Cui3,
  4. Ruoxi Ding4,
  5. Xuefeng Shi5,
  6. Ping He2
  1. 1 Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  2. 2 China Center for Health Development Studies, Peking University, Beijing, China
  3. 3 School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China
  4. 4 Institute of Population Research, Peking University, Beijing, China
  5. 5 School of Management, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ping He, China Center for Health Development Studies, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China; phe{at}; Professor Xuefeng Shi; shixuefeng981206{at}


Long-term exposure to particulate matter 2.5 μm (PM2.5) air pollution is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. However, the evidence is limited in low-income and middle-income countries. We estimated the association between the incidence of lung cancer and PM2.5 air pollution exposure in the Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI) beneficiaries in China. A total of 16 483 new lung cancer cases diagnosed from 12 966 137 UEBMI beneficiaries from 36 cities between 2013 and 2016. The relative risk for lung cancer associated with a 10 µg/m3 increase in 3-year PM2.5 exposure was 1.12 (95% CI 1.00 to 1.26). The population attributable risk estimated for a reduction in PM2.5 concentration to 35 µg/m3 corresponded to a decrease of 14% in cases of lung cancer. Reducing PM2.5 air pollution has a significant public health benefit.

  • lung cancer

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  • XS and PH are joint senior authors.

  • ZZ and DZ contributed equally.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Peking University’s Start-up Fund (BMU2018YJ004)

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study was deemed as exempt from ethical approval by the institutional review board of the Beijing University of Chinese medicine (No.2019BZHYLL0201).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.