Characterizing trends in lung cancer mortality attributable to airborne environmental carcinogens

Mitchell Veith, Drury McAlarney, Xiaonan Xue, Thomas E. Rohan, H. Dean Hosgood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Tracheal, bronchus, and lung (TBL) cancer is the leading cause of cancer death globally, but trends in TBL mortality attributable to tobacco, ambient particulate matter pollution (APMP), and household air pollution (HAP) were unequally distributed within global population subgroups over the last three decades. We used data from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 study to quantify the impact of sex, time, sociodemographic development index (SDI), and age for each exposure from 1990–2019. During that interval, tobacco dominated the TBL cancer mortality landscape, with its minimum global age-adjusted death rate of 16.71 deaths/100,000 (95% Uncertainty Interval (UI): 15.27–18.13) outstripping maximums of 3.85 deaths/100,000 (UI: 2.82–4.83) and 2.54 deaths/100,000 (UI: 1.69–3.54) for APMP and HAP, respectively. In 2019, tobacco male TBL death rates exceeded female rates by a factor of 4.4:1. Ratios of 1.9:1 for APMP and 2.1:1 for HAP were seen. Our analysis indicates that both-sex middle SDI and female low, low-middle, and high-middle SDI populations are suffering increasing tobacco TBL burden. Efforts producing successful global reductions in HAP-associated TBL mortality should continue, with attention to low SDI female death rate increases. Finally, except for high SDI populations, global APMP-attributable TBL cancer burden is increasing and represents a major health concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13162
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Air pollution
  • Global burden of disease
  • HAP
  • Lung cancer
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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