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The following tape recorder program is distributed through the facilities of the National Association of educational broadcasters. Just hold your breath. Hold your breath as long as you can. And you'll soon discover how vital this natural resource is. Yes air is the most precious substance we have when it's clean it's healthy and useful when it's polluted. It's costly and it kills. Air pollution is a threat to our way of life and you should know more about it in these radio programs produced by Michigan State University under a grant from the United States Public Health Service. Every aspect of this national problem from health effects to economic considerations will be discussed. Air pollution will be viewed by legislators. Scientists public health officials representatives of industry. We challenge you to draw some
logical and responsible conclusions. Is there any relationship between the air we breathe and cancer. It's a frightening thought and the answer as yet is not quite clear. But there are some strong feelings on the subject. If pollution from our sources which we encounter in that list here represents it sure US has it. Lung cancer has it to their population. Dr. Vilhelm Hooper chief of the environmental cancer section of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda Maryland minces no words about the cancer threat in the air. Others are not so sure. We know that evolution couldn't possibly be good for you that they are hopeful that if we did know it would seem prudent to try to avoid it. I would say this. I certainly am interested in this in relation to love. But I think that equally good reason to be interested in it in relation
to that is better reason to be interested. It is the thing that scientists are concerned over strong evidence supporting a relationship of air pollution to specific diseases. Today's programme will examine that relationship. Our guests are Dr. Huber and Dr. e-collar Hammond director of the statistical research section in the American Cancer Society's medical affairs department. Dr. Hugh Per's work at the National Cancer Institute has long been concerned with air contaminants and disease that you care for and your position as chief of the environmental cancer section here at the National Cancer Institute. Is there any definite proven relationship between certain diseases respiratory diseases and air pollution. Yes they are depending upon the type of air pollution you are referring to.
There are four types of pollution which can be distinguished that which are to a certain extent interrelated. That is the same type of pollutant is found in their quite different types of environments. I wish to enumerate. They see first as a compassionate type of air pollution that is heard in pollution which is encountered in industrial plants workshops in the plant area and to a certain extent even in the vicinity of congested establishment. Now as this type of air pollution has the most definite and the most serious connections with deceases I have spoke to a tech and I really feel he may need to cancers of that aspect to a organs that is mainly there. This second type of pollution which this is a general environmental or air pollution.
Pollution is that generally with. Dest fumes gases vapors mists and flux is not Iron Man made as in a patient type of air pollution bed is in pocket as a result of that into a direction of next sort of pollutants into the Quinces a general dentist that Best Buy extra and worst in second is just one instance and in Aska that dash one can expect to be TS and so on. But that most significant pock offers a general environmental pollutants as all those which are man made and these pollutants are part of the effluence. And just your establishment. The excellence from
heating of homes buildings that item appear in diesel engine exhausts are so in some areas as a chemical far out spreading. Pesticides in the inhabited populated areas. Then certain type of air pollution which again is in power and industry girly pollution is that the air pollution we encounter in our homes. Our homes are to a certain extent industrialized that yes we are using the products industry extensively in our homes and therefore we encounter in our homes in pot as a say we have pollutants which are found in acute patients are in the general area and now some of these air pollutants are still all kinds of producing just as the air
pollutants which are found in occupation here and in the general area. And finally we have a process of air pollution and that is the highly personalized type of air pollution related to the smoking of tobacco. And here again a pot of this pollution. This man may because tobacco may contain pesticide residue euros or may contain contaminants. Add to that tobacco during the curing process during the preparation of the tobacco. These are the four main types of air pollution. And each one of them may create hundreds has it infect each and every one of them. Make a gate. Even a cancer has it to sit on. Or make a ticket to it cancer has it too. I think it is one of the most interesting stories of modern
industrialized civilization. How do we add to this shifting into conditions which we can come to and should control and don't control. Dr Yoopers comment is a strong indictment isn't it. Or perhaps it's not when we consider the stakes. But what are the stakes. Is the threat real. We discovered in the last program that the nature of air pollution does not lend itself to easy analysis or prognosis. We noted that even among scientists and medical men there is not complete accord. Dr. e-collar Hammond American Cancer Society represents a more conservative attitude. Do you have any opinion Dr. Hammond about the potential for ill health as a result of air pollution in the United States or either generally or in specific locations. That is probably that the most difficult question one could ask at the present time in this match is very heavy air pollution called it
difficult if you would rather suspect that a moderate degree would cause a slight at least slight difficulties. A great many studies have been made however and up to this time there is very little positive evidence that Greven air pollution such as we have had in American cities causes any appreciable amount of damage to health. But I want to qualify this. Most forms of air pollution that we know about such as industrial air pollution cause a worse damage as a result of chronic exposure over a long period of time. And this exposure that scream we have it and it kills you right away or causes difficulty right away because it's progressive damage to the long conceivably could cause cancer some of these now. In America we have a shifting population that doesn't stay put doesn't stay in one place for a
lot of second. There have been relatively few places in the United States that had heavy air pollution for very long. That's up till now we have not had large population living in areas where there was heavy air pollution living there for a long time for that reason we simply don't have very good information to go on. What worries me is that at the present level of pollution such as is now in some American it is continuous over a period of 15 to 20 years after that they would have done that as a couple of decades from now we may be seeing serious damage produced by this long exposure to these pollutants. Some studies on long term exposure to pollutants have already been made and with significant results. Dr. Huber describe some of these studies observations recently made in
Germany. MRI right. You have woke us oh youre just between 90 and up to 20 and I do that in front of the assegai pesticides in the wine gas and I know how you got up in Kansas up there. Up as ole ends up with a nasal sinuses ups a scan of their liver and up the esophagus and some of these men. We actually Pine Valley Kansas effecting different OGs at the same time or in succession. This is interesting it took 20 to 30 years for this to develop. Yes this is one of the most serious aspect of patient cancer because a man may leave after sufficient exposure it causes Majendie ablation and is expected job and not a constant journey up lation. But he takes his cancer
liability alone. And 10 15 20 years later he still developed his typical of your patients with cancer the possibility of long term effects of air pollution and health is probably the most disturbing aspect of this whole problem. The air we are breathing this minute if it's not clean may adversely affect our health 20 years from now regarding certain occupational exposures. This is not mere speculation. We had rather conservative not awful well identified chemical s in the occupation in which little Cox and Apapa conditions often expose a cancer as an aspect of us particularly not you. How do you translate this causing of cancer in the in the occupational exposure to the causing of cancer by general air
pollution that is in the general public. The evidence we have obtained from observations on occupation or atmospheric percentage is and mitigated way applicable to conditions found here are generally in the arms as a matter of fact. Generally the area is increasing the gate polluted with their cars through genic incomplete combustion products of kernel gasoline and car and pick the chemical and that is each mate but in this country in many communities by a sanitary engineer in Chanda in Cincinnati and by
investigators as a country particularly being written shows quite definitely that the contents carcinogenic hydrocarbons of this application particularly saline for Bills pile which is. To put a type of as a constant Jenny our magic partnership big hydro carbons. It is by no means the only constant headache had all come up with this auction which pollutes the air out of us. These chemicals I guarantee get it with chemicals which I count in counted and occupational conditions by the workers working in that quote from plants gas plants in middle manager good and in middle magical plants were it pollution of the air with our own midst and park this present and similar
appellations. Exam 4 can be concluded that the general population which is exposed to Izzy's carcinogenic panic us. Why Juliet lesser degree than as a workless were developed as a Kansas officer lying as a result of such exposures and in fact every demagogy going evidence shows that they don't can survey it is highest in our industrialized countries in the population of metropolitan areas are highly industrialized. Then lung cancer late us several times. They act up as a standard to date and particular ID that offers a lower population. You attribute this to the generalized air pollution in those areas. I definitely do.
The nature of the statistical inference makes it difficult to ignore a relationship between cancer and air pollution. Nevertheless a lack of positive irrefutable evidence has made it difficult for some observers to endorse that relationship without reservation. But haven't do you have any opinions concerning the relationship between the generalized type of air pollution that we've been talking about and the development of cancer in human beings. I would say there is no positive evidence at the present time which comes anywhere near anywhere near proving that there is any relationship at all. Is your nasty jesting ever dare. Some things that suggest there may be a relationship. No I'm talking about American cities. Now the piece of evidence most frequently quoted is the fact that lung cancer death rates are higher
in cities in the United States than they are in foreign population. However if you really look at the picture you find the total death rate is higher in that it is in the United States in America. And of course air pollution is merely one of many things that are different between the city and the country. And if air pollution is causing damage to health my guess is that lung cancer would be the least of the things to worry that I'd be more worried about the carbon monoxide and than I would have the effect that long now. When we examined this urban rural reference more carefully we found power in a study in New York and think of the American Cancer Society or a million people.
I ask all the men where that any and they had occupational exposure to dust fumes or vapors of any sort such as paint is inhaling fumes from paint automobile mechanics getting automobile exhaust and of course the heavier. Well what I found was that the chronic exposures are concentrated in the city and not in the country and the menu said that they hadn't had any sort of occupation. Both had about twice the death rate from lung from perspire authorities in general and almost twice he said death rate from lung cancer. As those who said they had no occupation so part of this urban rural deferent is not general air pollution but occupational connected air pollution. Then the next thing is his fight lung cancer is concerned lung cancer is not the the disease in the world to diagnose. Medical
services are standard in fifth and I suspect a fair number of cases of lung cancer are missed in the country particularly in rural areas where there are very few doctors and very little opportunity to make proper diagnosis. Larry we know that when the first can get sick living on the farm he can move waiting to be taken care of and if he actually sell Ditto metatheory or farm and moved in with a married son or daughter in the 30 then his death certificate will show him to the urban resident not a rural resident. Taking all those things together I don't think it is very much evident from the urban rural difference in death rate. The general evolution accounts for much of any of it. We feel that it's important for you to know that these two approaches to the evidence at hand
exists regardless of the approach however there seems to be no doubt in anyone's mind that the evidence no matter how circumstantial does exist and that in the face of such strong suggestive evidence we have no choice but to implement corrective measures. Of course any discussion of air pollution and cancer immediately raises the question of cigarette smoking in the layman's mind. We asked Dr. Huber about that. Dr. uber How does the cancer production from generalized air pollution relate to the cancer production from say cigarette smoking. Without any doubt that smoke cigarettes contains small amounts of known cancer producing chemicals without going here into the controversy which excess acid to that additive importance of air pollution or cigarette smoking in the production
line cancer I think it is fair to state that cigarette smoking directly or indirectly will contribute to that development of cancers that is mainly excessive. Cigarette smoking that is smoking are 1 to 2 asleep packs a day. To give us your. Idea I have boxes that are 10 deep enough exposure for a constant Janet Heigl columns contained in cigarette smoke and pollutants. I wish to sight up to the visions made by somebody a member are i the sanitary engineering center in Cincinnati. He found that the. Annual exposure to the sea floor of Inspire was there and knowledge citizens of London
were smokes one pack a day represents about 60 micrograms sleep for them. Promise the inhalational after that. Yeah after London. Human hair. Three hundred and twenty micrograms of sleep bands pile. I see those figures again. I know from the cigarettes one cigarettes he wants to stay and exposure to about 60 micrograms of sleep problems. If he smokes 20 cigarettes a day these are actually only approximate figures for merely leaving the area of London he walking Heyer clear hundred and twenty my cook and per day. The comparison is 68 with three hundred and twenty beds that is he want to have to smoke fry packages of cigarettes per day
because no one here to eat their exposure to bend. He only gets from inhaling the air in this London experience be translated into experience and in American cities in your opinion. North not quite there yet pollution after London is unique in this world. Fred we are spear this exposure for instance in that San Francisco. Where average citizens would be exposed to about 14 micrograms sleep for a vampire per year this is the exception. I would like to comment there. You know our western cities Well we have a high degree of sunshine so the province pylon is harder that really what a chemical to destroy existence not me as a sort of
chemical conversion products I'm not causing the damage it only means that we cannot damn asleep before and prior. Now if we take place as Detroit. Were there for the chemical attack if not active to the same degree. Wi fi as a the average citizen would hate about hernot 10 micrograms per year. Please forgive pile that is about the amount which you would get if you want smoke two packages of cigarettes per day. This is in Detroit. You going to try this this is right now you know I think you know this is a cancer producing material yet. And for those who must breathe a contaminated air of some of our cities and smoke the hazard would of course be magnified. Dr. Hammond of the American Cancer Society also directed some remarks toward cigarette smoking. I came in to talk about cigarette smoking again
is there any explanation of the cancer that follows the smoking of cigarettes. Well I'd have to discuss this and say what the theories are but one thing that almost any error can as in cigarette smoke is an irritant. Is to cause a reproduction of cells. Called hyperplasia. You can even get there from mechanical irritation like a callous on the head from a kind of clarification and cigarette smoking certainly increases hyperplasia in the Bronx you're crazy lunk into is really wrong. OK it said that in other parts along very often there is good reason to believe that this in creases susceptibility to cancer if the tissue is then it's both the something which will produce Kate that is general chronic characterization probably has its effect.
Second cigarette smoke breaks down on a protective mechanism in the long. The longer equipped with a very remarkable system of self lending a little hair like crude is called filea that a constant in motion and their function is to take any dust to sort anything that old and the little arms remove it. Now if it weren't for this city dwellers would quickly have their lungs as filled up. It's very necessary protective mechanism. No unfortunately cigarette smoke destroys this mechanism. It reduces action of the cilia in addition to that. It actually destroys the silly in many spots on this account a certain number of people other than you know I certainly think it has some validity that even a cigarette smoke per se had nothing to do with
causation of cancer. But let us say evolution did. But samples 3 4 bands by a reed in polluted air then the destruction of the Philly by cigarette smoke would make this far more susceptible to Carthon the genic agents in the general atmosphere. So that's the second way in which it might affect a third way. Is cigarette smoke itself contains a number of agents known to be cost an agenda for animals. At least mice and rabbits so this could be producing lung cancer could be a combination of the two. Some of the ingredients knocking out the protective mechanism they met by making the lungs more susceptible to the real cancer causing agents in the cigarette smoke. However there is still another thing. Another mechanism
and evidence that the taskbar and the British have recently did make me think that there's probably a different mechanism altogether. In my opinion it is highly probable that almost everybody occasionally gets a cancer cell in a body somewhere including in the Bronx. You're cute but these individual cells usually die off for a place by normal in the smoker. We find any increase in sales that have that there is of cancer so increased with age. A few of these the felony non smokers but there is no increase with age and if you are the smoker there are many more of them and or the person gets along he smokes the more they are and the terminal condition is lung cancer. When they reproduce to a degree they're out of control.
Air pollution poses a definite threat to the health of the citizens of our communities. We hope today's program has given you a better understanding of the nature of that threat. Health is probably the most important consideration but the economic side of this problem is itself staggering. In the next program we'll talk about the cost of pollution. Hold your breath was produced by Patrick Ford at Michigan State University under a grant from the division of air pollution Bureau of state services U.S. Public Health Service. Our interviewer was Dr. Albert E. Eustis commissioner of health for the state of Michigan. These programs are distributed through the facilities of the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
Hold your breath
Air pollution and cancer
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on air pollution role in causing cancer.
Series Description
This series focuses on air pollution and its impact on America.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
Public Affairs
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Interviewee: Hueper, W. C. (Wilhelm C.), 1894-
Interviewee: Hammond, E. Cuyler (Edward Cuyler), 1912-
Interviewer: Heustis, Albert E.
Producer: Ford, Patrick
Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 63-36-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:54
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Chicago: “Hold your breath; Air pollution and cancer,” 1963-09-24, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023,
MLA: “Hold your breath; Air pollution and cancer.” 1963-09-24. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2023. <>.
APA: Hold your breath; Air pollution and cancer. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from