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Pollution-Brain Cancer Link to be Studied

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LOS ANGELES, Oct 02, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The Brain Tumor and Air Pollution Foundation announced Thursday the start of a study to explore a possible link between brain cancer and air pollution.

The research project will be led by neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Black, director of the Cedars-Sinai Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and Division of Neurosurgery in Los Angeles.

The foundation awarded $559,250 to the research project, with funding from the South Coast Air Quality Management District -- the air pollution control agency for California's Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The study will examine biochemical and pathological changes in brain tissue of laboratory animals exposed to various toxic air pollutants. The changes will be compared with those in human brain tumor tissue to determine whether air pollution causes brain cancer.

During a news conference, Black said estimates suggest brain cancers and other tumors of children's nervous systems rose by more than 25 percent between 1973 and 1996, with brain cancer becoming the most common cause of cancer death in young people.

Among the potentially toxic products of concern are ultra-fine particles produced by diesel engines.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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