Anyway, the conventional wisdom on lung cancer was that you needed to be exposed to particulate matter for a long time for damage to occur. Turns out just 3 days can start to damage your DNA. Food for thought (from Newswise, the journalists'-only site):
Newswise — Exposure to particulate matter has been recognized as a contributing factor to lung cancer development for some time, but a new study indicates inhalation of certain particulates can actually cause some genes to become reprogrammed, affecting both the development and the outcome of cancers and other diseases...
Researchers enrolled 63 healthy subjects who worked in a foundry near Milan, Italy. Blood DNA samples were collected on the morning of the first day of the work week, and again after three days of work. Comparing these samples revealed that significant changes had occurred in four genes associated with tumor suppression.
“The changes were detectable after only three days of exposure to particulate matter, indicating that environmental factors need little time to cause gene reprogramming which is potentially associated with disease outcomes,” Dr. Baccarelli said.
“As several of the effects of particulate matter in foundries are similar to those found after exposure to ambient air pollution, our results open new hypotheses about how air pollutants modify human health,” he added. “The changes in DNA methylation we observed are reversible and some of them are currently being used as targets of cancer drugs.”