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Other environmental exposures and lung cancer

Researchers are looking at evidence linking increased risk for lung cancer to environmental carcinogens found in outdoor and indoor air pollutants as well as soil and drinking water. Cancer-causing toxins can be found in the home, the workplace and public spaces. Certain occupations pose more risks: hairdressing, mining, painting, and art glass making. Active duty military and veterans are also at increased risk for lung cancer due to exposures to things like Agent Orange, asbestos, battlefield combustibles and possibly depleted uranium.  

Learn about occupational exposures and lung cancer

Siemiatycki et al. 2004. Listing occupational carcinogens Environmental Health Perspectives 112(15): 1447–1459.

Agent Orange

Veterans and Agent Orange: Health effects of herbicides used in Vietnam (Institute of Medicine)

Agent Orange and cancer (American Cancer Society)


Arsenic (American Cancer Society)

Putillo and Guo. 2011. Association of arsenic exposure with lung cancer incidence rates in the United States. (PLOS ONE)

Chen et al. 2004. Ingested arsenic, cigarette smoking and lung cancer risk. JAMA 292(24):2984-2990. 

Battlefield combustibles, depleted uranium

Gulf War and health volume 3: Fuels, combustion products and propellants (Institute of Medicine) 

Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses: Final report(Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses)


Schubauer-Berigan et al. 2011. Risk of lung cancer associated with quantitative beryllium exposure metrics within an occupational cohort. Occup Environ Med 2011;68:354e360

Sanderson et al. 2001. Lung cancer case-control study of Beryllium workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 39:133-144. 

Diesel exhaust and air pollution

Diesel Exhaust (American Cancer Society)

Diesal exhaust carcinogenic. (International Agency for Research on Cancer)

Turner et al. 2011. Long-term ambient fine particulate matter air pollution and lung cancer in a large cohort of never-smokers American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 184(12): 1374-13810. 


Alavanja et al. 2004. Pesticides and lung cancer risk in the agricultural health study cohort. American Journal of Epidemiology 160(9):876-85.