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Statistical Reports

Cancer Risk Factors in Ontario: Environmental Burden

Aug 2016
Data Type: Risk Factors
Publication Series: Cancer Risk Factors in Ontario


    Environmental Burden of Cancer in Ontario is the fifth report in the Cancer Risk Factors in Ontario series. It sheds light on environmental carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) by calculating, for the first time, the annual environmental burden of cancer in Ontario. The report was produced in partnership with Public Health Ontario.

    The report estimates how many new cancer cases each year in the province are the result of exposure to 23 carcinogens that exist in our environment. Between 3,540 and 6,510 new cancer cases in Ontario each year are estimated to result from environmental carcinogens.

    Key Findings

    • Over 90% of all environmental cancer cases result from exposure to 3 main carcinogens:
      • UV radiation from the sun
      • Radon gas from the ground
      • Outdoor air pollution
    • 2,090 to 2,990 new cancer cases are from UV radiation in sunlight.
    • 1,080 to 1,550 new cancer cases are from radon.
    • 290 to 900 new cancer cases are from fine particles in outdoor air pollution.
    • The environmental cancer burden represents approximately twice the cancer burden from alcohol consumption and approximately half the cancer burden from smoking.