Light pollution a factor in breast and prostate cancer?



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Light pollution a factor in breast and prostate cancer?

Light pollution is an often harmful alteration of the natural and normally low levels of light, which would be present in the nocturnal environment, in the absence of artificial lights. This alteration causes damage of various kinds: environmental, scientific, cultural and economic.

The most commonly used legislative definition qualifies it as any direct light irradiation outside the areas to which it is functionally dedicated, and in particular towards the celestial vault. Among the environmental damage can be listed: difficulty or loss of orientation in various animal species (migratory birds, sea turtles, nocturnal moths, bats), alteration of the photoperiod in some plants, alteration of circadian rhythms in plants, in animals (such as man) and in microorganisms, stunted growth of the perifiton.

A research would have highlighted the correlation between light pollution and serious health problems for humans. This is the study Light pollution as a factor in breast and prostate cancer, published on The Science of the total environment: "Light pollution is a global environmental issue that affects photosensitive organisms.

For instance, several researchers have recognized melatonin suppression in humans as a direct cause of long-term exposure to high artificial light levels at night. Others have identified low melatonin levels as a risk factor for a higher prevalence of hormone-sensitive cancer.

This paper analyzes the association between light pollution, estimated as the emission analysis of satellite worldwide nighttime light collections from 1999 to 2012, and 25,025 breast and 16,119 prostate cancer events from 2003 to 2012.

Both types of cancer increased during the study period, but light pollution increased in urban and peri-urban areas and decreased in rural areas. Cumulative light pollution during 5 years showed a positive association with breast cancer but not with prostate cancer.

The association between light pollution and breast cancer persisted when adjusted to age-standardized rates with a mean increase of 10.9 events per 100,000 population-year (95% confidence interval 7.0 to 14.8). We conclude that exposure to elevated light pollution levels could be a risk factor for breast cancer in Slovakia.

This work can interest researchers who study relationships between atmospheric pollutants and the growing cancer epidemic. The results and the methodology can be extrapolated to any country in the world if data is available."