Pier Luigi Nimis and colleagues from the universities of Milan and Trieste drew a map showing the areas of highest pollution, and cross-referenced it with disease statistics. In a letter today in the science journal Nature, they note that this showed a clear link between pollution levels and the incidence of cancer in young men.
The results disclosed no pattern linking air pollution to other cancers or with lung cancer in women. But lichen biodiversity and lung cancer in men aged under 55 was "highly correlated".
The study was based on 2,425 measurements of biodiversity - the frequency of different species - at 662 points.Reuse content