Two Ways That Air Kills

There are currently two different stories about how air kills. Yes, two.

The first one has already been well covered by Leg-iron and Junican and Grandad:

The Air That Makes You Fat

Some puzzling studies appear to show that tiny airborne particles may contribute to obesity,  diabetes and heart disease.

But there’s another one:

How oxygen in the air could trigger lung cancer: Rates of the disease found to decrease at higher altitudes

US researchers suggest way our bodies process oxygen is potentially carcinogenic

Free radicals in body can cause damage to cell structures and DNA, which in turn can trigger cancer

Link between elevation and lung cancer not seen with breast, prostate or bowel cancer

‘Viewing our findings through the lens of the literature, atmospheric oxygen emerges as the most probable culprit.

‘Overall, our findings suggest the presence of an inhaled carcinogen inherently and inversely tied to elevation.’

I’m slightly puzzled by this. I know that air becomes less dense with altitude, but doesn’t it remain about 20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen as its density falls? And doesn’t this mean that you just have to breathe more of it? Someone at the top of a mountain needs just as much oxygen as someone at the foot of it, but if the air at the top of the mountain is half as dense as the air at the bottom, they’ll have to breathe twice as much as it to get the same amount of oxygen. So they’re not getting any less oxygen.

Anyway if there’s less oxygen in the air, then there’s also less nitrogen. So maybe it’s nitrogen that’s carcinogenic?

But what if it’s air pressure that’s carcinogenic?  Air pressure decreases with altitude. At the bottom of the atmosphere, we all have about one kilogram of atmospheric air pressing on every square centimetre of our external surfaces (which include the insides of our lungs) .  And maybe the higher the atmospheric air pressure, the more likely it is that cells in our lungs get damaged, and become cancerous?

Or maybe, to square with the other Air Kills story, it’s just that there’s less particulate matter in the air at high altitudes than there is at the dusty, smoky, smoggy surface of the Earth?

Pretty soon some ‘expert’ will no doubt be telling people to spend as much of their time upstairs in their houses rather than downstairs, and sleep standing or sitting upright.

Anyway, H/T Audrey Silk, the high price of cigarettes in New York has resulted in a fall in tax revenues:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The number of state-taxed cigarette packs sold in New York has plummeted by 54 percent in the past decade.

That’s far outpacing the 19 percent decline in New Yorkers who have quit smoking over the same time.

Instead, more smokers are buying cigarettes in ways that avoid New York’s $4.35 per pack tax, the highest in the nation. They cross state lines, shop from black market vendors and travel to Native American outlets to save $6 per pack or more, experts say.

New York is losing big. In the past five years, the state’s cigarette tax collections have dropped by about $400 million, according to data and estimates from the office of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

And this at a time when the number of smokers in NY has been increasing:

New York City’s adult smoking rate rose to 16.1% in 2013, the third straight year that tobacco use has crept up in a metropolis once known for its innovations in getting people to kick the habit, according to government data released Monday.

It’s enough to make you Laffer out loud.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Sleep kills. Yup, you heard it right: Sleep Kills.

Too much sleep is ‘AS bad for your health as smoking and drinking alcohol’: More than 9 hours a night means you’re ‘4 TIMES more likely to die early’

So sleep well tonight! Just make sure to sleep standing upright in a top floor bedroom, with an alarm clock set to wake you up after an hour or two.

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About Frank Davis

smoker
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32 Responses to Two Ways That Air Kills

  1. Malcolm # says:

    All my years of study count for naught !

  2. Roobeedoo2 says:

    Well it’s about time Oxygen got some of the shit; There are two of them to every Carbon atom and yet Carbon gets dragged through the mud…

    Okay, Climate Experts… now go tell The People they should reduce their Oxygen intake and see what you get ;)

    That well known Leftie, Ben Elton, wrote a great play called ‘Gasping’. Hugh Lawrie and Yosser Hughes were in it ;)

  3. The Blocked Dwarf says:

    $400 million

    Well you know what they say: $400 million here, $400 million there and very soon yer talkin’ ’bout real money…

    Seriously, Ladybird need to reissue http://i1152.photobucket.com/albums/p496/jenniferjain/LadybirdbookAesopsFablesinside1_zpsfe4457f1.jpg

    dear God, did their parents no read to them when they were little?!?!?

  4. Interesting.

    Ten hours of sleep per night will increase your chance of an early death by four times eh? Meanwhile secondary smoke exposure for a working lifetime supposedly only increases your chance of lung cancer by 19%. So sleeping late is basically over a thousand percent as dangerous as working with smokers?

    Interesting.

    It matches up nicely with recent claim that Chantix poses just a “small increased risk” of a “serious cardiac event” per year for 1 person out of every 28 taking it. That’s almost 4% of the takers getting a heart attack EACH YEAR. As opposed to secondary smoke posting roughly causing a lifetime risk increase in lung cancer in one person out of every 80,000 per year from intense 8-hours/day exposure for forty years straight. One in twenty-eight is a small risk while one in 80,000 is terrifying.

    Interesting.

    Meanwhile, regarding oxygen: somewhat similar to the research showing, very consistently, that if you pretty much starve mice throughout their lifetimes they live enormously (30%? 50%? I forget at the moment.) longer.

    So, the secret to longevity appears to be to lock people up in oxygen-starved chambers, feed them about 800 calories a day, Ring loud bells every few hours to make sure they’re constantly in a state of sleep deprivation, make them run on little hamster treadmill whirligigs in order to even get the little oxygen they’re being allowed, and probably make them drink a quart of castor oil a day simply cuz it’s fun to watch their faces while they do so.

    I’m no longer interested. Sign me out.

    – MJM

    P.S. Great catch on the nitrogen Frank! I wonder though if they did any research at all on the oxy/nitro ratio at increasing altitudes? Maybe the nitro boils off into space faster? Hmm… that might leave an increased ratio of oxygen if true, and support your nitro as culprit theory. Of course if the Antis’ claims about smoking leading to carbon monixide blocking our blood from oxygen uptake were true, then smokers may actually be living LONGER than nonsmokers! That would tie in nicely with those claiming that antismoking is an Agenda 21 plot to reduce world population! :>

    • slugbop007 says:

      That is because the AntiTobacco BS stats always get top killing. Even, in some cases here in Montréal, front page news. All the stats and studies that completely dismantle or contradict the BS studies are found in the back pages. Usually a few days later. There is
      too much collusion in the Media (printed, radio and TV) with the Tobacco Control gangsters. It could be that they all own shares in pharmaceutical stocks and don’t want to see those royalty check payments dry out. Some of the journalists here, be they bloggers, newspaper journalists, radio or TV journalists, are downright lazy. They are more like copywriters than investigative journalists. I know, I have written to some of them, presented them with some pretty damning facts and they never followed up my leads.

  5. Tony says:

    On yesterday’s topic, I bought a duff 128Gb memory stick through Amazon recently. Data appeared to be getting backed up OK but would subsequently dissappear. It would have been seriously bad news if I hadn’t noticed.

    RdM posted links to important information about this late yesterday (thanks). I strongly recommend everyone taking a look if they have bought or are planning to buy, high capacity memory sticks.

    RdM says:
    December 13, 2015 at 11:12 pm
    You’d be wise to test it properly before committing data to it.
    Google fake usb flash drives and read up a bit. This guide’s the 3rd hit on mine:
    http://www.ebay.com/gds/All-About-Fake-Flash-Drives-2013-/10000000177553258/g.html
    http://www.rmprepusb.com/tutorials/-fake-usb-flash-memory-drives
    is another one.

  6. Tony says:

    I think you’re right about the oxygen Frank. People need just as much at higher altitudes but have to work harder to get it from the thinner air. Pretty sure the Nitrogen ratio would be unchanged.

    What’s different about higher altitudes?
    Thinner air, less pollution, cooler, generally fewer insects(?) and fewer people. There’s probably some differences in types and density of bacteria and viruses too. No doubt the Epidemiologists used their magic numbers with a sprinkling of fairy dust to adjust for every conceivable factor other than oxygen though.

    “make them drink a quart of castor oil a day simply cuz it’s fun to watch their faces while they do so.”
    You missed your vocation Michael. Fortunately for us.

    • Aww, Tony, just think what a team I coulda made with Leggy as Dungeon Masters…

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Epidemiologists Vote to Keep Doing Junk Science

      Epidemiology Monitor (October 1997)

      An estimated 300 attendees a recent meeting of the American College of
      Epidemiology voted approximately 2 to 1 to keep doing junk science!

      Specifically, the attending epidemiologists voted against a motion
      proposed in an Oxford-style debate that “risk factor” epidemiology is
      placing the field of epidemiology at risk of losing its credibility.

      Risk factor epidemiology focuses on specific cause-and-effect
      relationships–like heavy coffee drinking increases heart attack risk. A
      different approach to epidemiology might take a broader
      perspective–placing heart attack risk in the context of more than just
      one risk factor, including social factors.

      Risk factor epidemiology is nothing more than a perpetual junk science machine.

      But as NIEHS epidemiologist Marilyn Tseng said “It’s hard to be an
      epidemiologist and vote that what most of us are doing is actually harmful
      to epidemiology.”

      But who really cares about what they’re doing to epidemiology. I thought
      it was public health that mattered!

      we have seen the “SELECTIVE” blindness disease that
      Scientist have practiced over the past ten years. Seems the only color they
      see is GREEN BACKS, it’s a very infectious disease that has spread through
      the Scientific community with the same speed that any infectious disease
      would spread. And has affected the T(thinking) Cells as well as sight.

      Seems their eyes see only what their paid to see. To be honest, I feel
      after the Agent Orange Ranch Hand Study, and the Sl-utz and Nutz Implant
      Study, they have cast a dark shadow over their profession of being anything
      other than traveling professional witnesses for corporate hire with a lack
      of moral concern to their obligation of science and truth.

      The true “Risk Factor” is a question of ; will they ever be able to earn
      back the respect of their profession as an Oath to Science, instead of
      corporate paid witnesses with selective vision?
      Oh, if this seems way harsh, it’s nothing compared to the damage of peoples
      lives that selective blindness has caused!

    • Ya gotta laugh at the painful reluctance with which they admit smokers MAY have had a better time of it. The initial stats looked at three measures, and the smokers did better in two of them with better than 96% Confidence intervals and better in the third with better than a 98% Confidence Interval.

      Meanwhile the US EPA condemns secondary workplace smoke with certainty base on a Confidence Interval of barely 90%!

      Sheeesh. Someone needs to send a busload of these Antis on a steep drive down a curvy mountainside road with the brakes disabled!

      – MJM

      • The Blocked Dwarf says:

        “Presenting ‘positive’ effects of smoking is uncomfortable; smoking must be strongly discouraged.”

        Must it? And making statements like “Since it is well documented that the tobacco industry has been manipulating science, scientists and the general public for decades,” would result in a suit for libel if it were any other industry being maligned.

      • slugbop007 says:

        There are lots of great mountain roads in Mexico.

  7. smokingscot says:

    I spent 15 months in Taiz in the then North Yemen. That’s about 1,400m above sea level.
    Once in a while I’d visit Sanaa and that’s about 2,200m up. Been to Addis Ababa – 2,300 up.

    Suffered from a thing they call altitude sickness. Essentially I was well exhausted until a French doctor prescribed a pill that sorted it all out.

    From my experience there’s no health benefit from altitude, certainly not for people living in large towns.

    I had a C70 Honda at the time and it had a real problem with altitude. Something about the motor becoming less efficient at that height. The people I worked for supplied a thudding great long wheelbase Land Rover and even that old bus had its work cut out, especially in Sanaa.

    Going down to sea level was always an odd one, heady is as good as I can come up with.

    Now I know if I’m going up a couple of kms to make allowances for my tyres. As I go up the pressure in the tyre goes up as well. I didn’t know this in Yemen, so when I went to the coast I was running under inflated with the usual wooden steering, but with a big bruiser Land Rover that really doesn’t matter.

    At extreme altitudes I learned that water takes ages to boil, baking is also a problem and some of the female volunteers had problems with their periods. Seems those lasses were in villages that were above 3 kms. (We had none of those issues with cooking in Taiz and it seems the period thing only affects those who are used to lower altitudes).

    Years later spent 2 months in Andorra at altitudes ranging from 1 to 2.2 k up. This time I just took it easy for the first week or so and my system adjusted just fine. Andorra’s built up areas follow river courses and bits between thumping great mountains. No high plains as we saw in Yemen.

    What did hit real hard was the stench of diesel vehicles. In Andorra the air can sometimes be very still and it just built up to the point that I could jolly well see the haze.

    The report’s very typical academia. It may be that some peasant farmers in the high Andes live longer and there is a clutch of them in the high Caucasus:

    http://gbtimes.com/life/russias-most-amazing-longevity-cases

    However very few of us would enjoy living at 2.3 to 3.6 kms up a sodding hill to do so.

    • Frank Davis says:

      That’s interesting. I once lived in Asmara in Eritrea, altitude 2325 m (7628 ft). I was quite young (4 or 5 years old). Asmara was where I was living when I learned to read. I don’t remember having any altitude sickness or anything. In fact I don’t remember getting sick at all.

      some of the female volunteers had problems with their periods.

      My mother had a miscarriage while she was in Asmara. I’m pretty sure of that, because she mentioned it quite often in subsequent years.

      Now I know if I’m going up a couple of kms to make allowances for my tyres. As I go up the pressure in the tyre goes up as well.

      That’s an interesting one. I guess what’s happening is that the pressure/density of the air in the tyres remains the same as you climb higher, while the air outside gets thinner and pressure drops, so the relative pressure from inside to outside the tyre increases.

      so when I went to the coast I was running under inflated with the usual wooden steering,

      That’s interesting too. When I was living in Asmara, my father would occasionally drive down to Massawa on the coast of the Red Sea (112 km). The road to Massawa was just a two-lane highway, and very winding, with precipitous drops below. And quite often cars would drive over the edge (there were no crash barriers). At one time, parked outside our house, there was the wreck of an ambulance that had gone over the edge on that road. It was a frightening sight. It was horribly mangled. And I think everyone who had been inside it was killed. Anyway, if steering becomes wooden as tyre pressure (or relative tyre pressure) falls, then after getting half way to Massawa the (quite possible speeding) ambulance driver lost control on some sharp corner. That’s a very good explanation of how that accident might have happened.

      I don’t remember my father ever stopping the car to pump up the tyres when we drove down to Massawa, or stopping to let air out of the tyres on the way back, but I do remember that we would stop from time to time, usually for a picnic or drink. Maybe he’d do it then. Did you do that?

      Photo of Asmara-to-Massawa road (another image):

      Asmara-to-Massawa road

      • slugbop007 says:

        Are those clouds or wisps of secondhand smoke?

      • smokingscot says:

        Tyre pressure wasn’t something I was aware of at the time and Taiz is only 1.3 km up so it wasn’t a huge issue, just a couple of psi. For the most part our trips to the coast were to Mocha where the locals had a thriving business flogging smuggled booze. Get down, hang around for 10 – 20 minutes until someone asked what we wanted. Negotiate, hang around for another 20 – 40 minutes then they’d load a hessian bag in the back that’d contain loose cans of beer and/or wet cardboard boxes of whiskey (they buried the stuff in the sand and some beers just exploded when we pulled the tab, though most didn’t; the whiskey was always fine).

        May sound nuts, but it was hugely dangerous for the locals and could have gotten any of the expats expelled from the country.

        The big one was Sanna – and yes Yemen has a very similar terrain to Eritrea . The road from there to Hodeidah was littered with wrecks, though for the most part it also involved things like overloaded trucks and lousy brakes. How much of that involved tyres that were up to 6 psi above their safe limit I couldn’t guess.

        Altitude sickness didn’t affect the majority of expats, though I certainly wasn’t the only one. Most people just took it easy for the first couple of days and their lungs adapted to the thinner air. I just happen to be one of those who experienced it very badly indeed until the pill thing.

        I suspect your Dad – if he was aware of the changes to his tyre pressures – would adjust his driving to suit. For a day trip to the coast and at speeds less than 80 kph then it’d be best to just leave them at Asmara pressure for the day.

        By the way they have their very own TV channel now.

        http://www.eri.tv/

        • Frank Davis says:

          I don’t think we ever did day trips to Massawa. We’d stay there instead for a few days. And my father wouldn’t have driven at anywhere near 80 kph (50 mph). My mother wouldn’t have let him. She was quite a nervous passenger.

          I wouldn’t have been surprised if my father had known about tyre pressure changes, since he was an engineer (albeit an electrical one).

  8. Clicky says:

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    The latest study on HPV and lung cancer:
    Correlation between squamous cell carcinoma of the lung and human papillomavirus infection and the relationship to expression of p53 and p16. X Fan, K Yu, J Wu, J Shao, L Zhu, J Zhang. Tumour Biol. 2014 Dec 28 [Epub ahead of print]. 128 adenocarcinomas and 134 squamous cell carcinomas in Shanghai. “The rate of HPV infection in SQC cases was significantly higher than in ADC cases (12.69 versus 3.91 %). Females with SQC had a significantly higher rate of HPV infection compared to males with SQC (18.75 versus 7.14 %, p?=?0.044). HPV infection was correlated with gender and age in SQC but not with the degree of tumor differentiation, TNM stage, or smoking.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25544708

    And don’t turn up your nose just because it’s not 100% of lung cancer caused by HPV. Remember the supposed smoking-related mechanism the anti-smokers peddle (benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide-DNA adducts at hot spot codons at p53 in lung cells) could only pertain to about 7% or less of lung cancers.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16948683

    7 % or less would explain why so few smokers get LC to start with! LC is a very rare disease even in smokers where 2% or less of life long smokers ever get LC..
    ………………………….

    How oxygen in the air could trigger lung cancer: Rates of the disease found to decrease at higher altitudes.
    US researchers suggest way our bodies process oxygen is potentially carcinogenic.
    Free radicals in body can cause damage to cell structures and DNA, which in turn can trigger cancer.
    Link between elevation and lung cancer not seen with breast, prostate or bowel cancer.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2909046/How-oxygen-air-trigger-lung-cancer-Rates-disease-decrease-higher-altitudes.html#ixzz3OojufPbZ.

    ………………………..
    Lung and Bronchus. Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals by Age and Race and Ethnicity, United States (Table 3.15.1.1M) *†‡

    Rates are per 100,000 persons. Rates are per 100,000 persons.

    Note the age where LC is found…………..OLD AGE group incidence hits the 500/100,000 at age 75-85

    AGE it seems is the deciding factor……….

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    The latest study on HPV and lung cancer:
    Correlation between squamous cell carcinoma of the lung and human papillomavirus infection and the relationship to expression of p53 and p16. X Fan, K Yu, J Wu, J Shao, L Zhu, J Zhang. Tumour Biol. 2014 Dec 28 [Epub ahead of print]. 128 adenocarcinomas and 134 squamous cell carcinomas in Shanghai. “The rate of HPV infection in SQC cases was significantly higher than in ADC cases (12.69 versus 3.91 %). Females with SQC had a significantly higher rate of HPV infection compared to males with SQC (18.75 versus 7.14 %, p?=?0.044). HPV infection was correlated with gender and age in SQC but not with the degree of tumor differentiation, TNM stage, or smoking.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25544708

    And don’t turn up your nose just because it’s not 100% of lung cancer caused by HPV. Remember the supposed smoking-related mechanism the anti-smokers peddle (benzo(a)pyrene diol epoxide-DNA adducts at hot spot codons at p53 in lung cells) could only pertain to about 7% or less of lung cancers.

    7 % or less would explain why so few smokers get LC to start with! LC is a very rare disease even in smokers where 2% or less of life long smokers ever get LC..
    ………………………….

    How oxygen in the air could trigger lung cancer: Rates of the disease found to decrease at higher altitudes.
    US researchers suggest way our bodies process oxygen is potentially carcinogenic.
    Free radicals in body can cause damage to cell structures and DNA, which in turn can trigger cancer.
    Link between elevation and lung cancer not seen with breast, prostate or bowel cancer.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2909046/How-oxygen-air-trigger-lung-cancer-Rates-disease-decrease-higher-altitudes.html#ixzz3OojufPbZ.

    ………………………..
    Lung and Bronchus. Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals by Age and Race and Ethnicity, United States (Table 3.15.1.1M) *†‡

    Rates are per 100,000 persons. Rates are per 100,000 persons.

    Note the age where LC is found…………..OLD AGE group incidence hits the 500/100,000 at age 75-85

    AGE it seems is the deciding factor……….

  11. garyk30 says:

    Mountain air will contain less toxins than rural air.

    Urban air contains 39.5% more formaldehyde than does rural air.

    Urban air contains about 6 times the Arsenic of rural air.

    Urban air contains about 4 times the benzene of rural air.

    Urban air contains about twice as much Carbon Monoxide(CO) as does air in rural areas.

    • Some French bloke says:

      Invoking an “inhaled carcinogen inherently and inversely tied to elevation” sounds like just another way of not looking at the lung cancer-specific rural divide.
      Only 69 cities worldwide have a population greater than 100,000 inhabitants combined with an average height above sea level over 6,700 feet (2,042 m). Of those, 56 are in Latin America (incl. 19 in Mexico, 12 in Colombia, 8 in Peru, 7 in Bolivia, as many in Ecuador).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest_large_cities_in_the_world

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