Child's lung cancer is linked to air pollution
An eight-year-old girl has reportedly been diagnosed as China's youngest victim of lung cancer, reigniting debate over the devastating human toll of the country's pollution crisis.
The girl, who was not named, lived near a busy road in the eastern province of Jiangsu and doctors blamed exposure to air pollution for her condition, state media reported.
Jie Fengdong, a doctor at Nanjing's Jiangsu Cancer Hospital, was quoted by the state-run China News Service as saying the likely cause was exposure to airborne particles from vehicle emissions.
Kan Haidong, a professor from the School of Public Health at Shanghai's Fudan University, said it was "very, very rare" for such a young child to be diagnosed with lung cancer and urged caution in making a direct link to pollution.
Children were more vulnerable to air pollution than adults, but 40pc of lung cancer cases were still caused by smoking, Dr Kan added.
Still, the revelation sparked renewed discussion about how to clear China's smog-choked skies and came as Xie Zhenhua, the country's top climate-change negotiator, admitted that air pollution had "severely affected the mental and physical health of the Chinese people".
The coming weeks are likely to see thick smog envelope cities across China as winter approaches and coal-fuelled power stations start to come online.
In late October, toxic smog brought Harbin, a city of more than 11 million people in north-eastern China, to a virtual standstill.
Yesterday, Jiangsu province's Modern Express newspaper reported that, "the exact cause (of the girl's cancer) has not been determined."
But Li Tian, a doctor from the Nanjing Chest Hospital, said cancer rates were rising and patients were getting younger. (© Daily Telegraph, London)