Letter from head of public health disease prevention says that 16% of cancer cases in northern port city come as a result of air pollution in the area.

The Health Ministry revealed concerning numbers about the connection between the air pollution in Haifa and instances of cancer in the area on Tuesday.

Sixteen percent of the cancer cases in Haifa, 780 out of 4,860, in the last ten years have come as a result of exposure to air pollution, a letter sent by the Health Ministry’s head of public health disease prevention and health promotion, Prof. Itamar Grotto revealed.

It was further written in the letter that in children up to the age of 14, some 30 of the cancer cases came as a result of pollution – some 50% of total cases in the city.

The figures came from a calculation of the number of cancer cases in the Haifa area in relation to the rest of the country. Investigators found a higher risk of getting cancer in Haifa than other parts of the country for 16 out of 18 types of cancer that were checked.

Two types of cancer which showed a causative connection from the pollution were lung cancer, of which the number of patients in Haifa was 29% more than in the rest of the country, and bladder cancer, which Haifa residents were 26% more likely to get.

Some six months ago, the Israel Cancer Association published a study which showed that Haifa and Acre were the cities with the highest percentage of residents who had gotten sick with cancer. The Health Ministry, Haifa University and the Haifa Bay Municipal Association for Environmental Protection announced at the time that they would begin a study aimed at checking the scope of the connection between pollution and cancer cases in the area. The study has begun in recent weeks.