Soaring cancer rates in China are being fuelled by pollution and the overuse of chemicals in food production, according to an article in Monday's edition of the China Daily, Agence France-Presse reported.
The article said health ministry survey statistics show that cancer death rates have increased 23 percent in rural areas and by 19 percent in urban areas. No time frame was provided for the survey, conducted in 78 counties and 30 cities, AFP reported.
Cancer has been the leading cause of death in China since 2002.
The China Daily article quoted Chen Zhizhou, a cancer expert at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, as saying: "The main reason behind the rising number of cancer cases is that pollution of the environment, water and air is getting worse by day."
He noted that many "chemical and industrial enterprises are built along rivers so they can dump waste into water easily ... the contaminated water has directly affected soil, crops and food."
The paper also quoted Zhizhou as saying that underground water is being polluted by excessive use of pesticides and fertilisers, and farmers are using additives to make crops, poultry and pigs grow faster, AFP said. – (HealthDayNews)
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