September 2016

Environmental and Occupational Health Pearls

A new bi-monthly feature providing clinical information and resources from Public Health Ontario on matters relating to environmental and occupational health.

Estimated Burden of Cancer from Environmental Exposures in Ontario

In August 2016, Cancer Care Ontario and Public Health Ontario released, Environmental Burden of Cancer in Ontario, a report that sheds light on the impact of environmental carcinogens by calculating, for the first time, the annual environmental burden of cancer in Ontario. Results show that environmental carcinogens are responsible for approximately twice the cancer burden from alcohol consumption and approximately one-half the cancer burden from smoking.


Q: What is the issue?

A: Environmental exposures are associated with 3,500-6,500 new cases of cancer each year in Ontario, 90% of which come from three major carcinogens:

  1. Solar UV radiation
  2. Radon, a naturally occurring gas that can accumulate in lower levels of buildings
  3. Fine particulate matter, an air pollutant that comes from combustion sources

Q: What can family doctors do?

A: Family doctors can advise patients to reduce their exposure to these hazards by:

Q: Where can I find more information?

A: Visit Public Health Ontario Environmental Burden of Cancer in Ontario web page or contact PHO at

Do you know of resources, events and opportunities of interest to family docs?

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