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Old 10-29-08, 04:28 PM   #1
macteacher
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Throat Cancer

So I met another cyclist this afternoon on the bike un-friendly roads of Mississauga. He told me he wears a mask because of the pollutants, that eventually gave throat cancer. I was just in disbelief. Does anyone else wear a mask for these purposes? I wear mine simply for the cold...but never thought of wearing a for anything else.
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Old 10-29-08, 04:34 PM   #2
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Probably get run over before you die of cancer caused by riding, but whatever makes you happy
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Old 10-29-08, 04:35 PM   #3
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So I met another cyclist this afternoon on the bike un-friendly roads of Mississauga. He told me he wears a mask because of the pollutants, that eventually gave throat cancer. I was just in disbelief. Does anyone else wear a mask for these purposes? I wear mine simply for the cold...but never thought of wearing a for anything else.
wuss, it's only cold enough for a mask when it gets below -15°C then again you are in Canada so it actually might be. Everything gives you cancer though, even the fibers in your mask, so really you are not saving yourself.

brad has it right, you have a better chance to get hit by a car and die than getting cancer.
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Old 10-29-08, 04:45 PM   #4
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Unless it is an N-95 mask, it will not prevent particulates that cause cancer from entering your respiratory tract. No physician would say "you got throat cancer from XYZ". That was this persons own hypothesis of what caused his head/neck cancer.

Head/neck cancer is fairly rare and carcinogenesis is not well understood.
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Old 10-29-08, 05:29 PM   #5
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Old 10-29-08, 05:35 PM   #6
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Old 10-29-08, 05:36 PM   #7
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So I met another cyclist this afternoon on the bike un-friendly roads of Mississauga. He told me he wears a mask because of the pollutants, that eventually gave throat cancer. I was just in disbelief. Does anyone else wear a mask for these purposes? I wear mine simply for the cold...but never thought of wearing a for anything else.

I just use a mask made out of tinfoil, since I have so much around - it keeps the .gov out of my head, so it ought to keep the cancers out of my throat, right?

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Old 10-29-08, 05:37 PM   #8
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Does he wear one when he's in his office/at home/walking to the shops. If not then it's pointless wearing one when cycling for that reason. The only time when out cycling your likely to inhale anything extra worth mentioning compared to what you'd inhale in day to day life anyway is if you get stuck behind a large lorry/bus or something.

It will probably be so rarely that your stuck in the cloud of a lorry for any amount of time that it's just not worth it, and as a percentage extra of all the other things that you encounter throught the day that will give you cancer it's tiny.

I mean even standing next to a kettle will increase your chance of cancer, eating toast increases your chance of cancer, everything seems to increase your chance of cancer. Heck, me sitting typing this message is probably increasing my chance of cancer as much as a cycle ride would.

I don't even know how much those masks filter stuff out, I've never bothered reading into it
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Old 10-29-08, 05:42 PM   #9
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I always figured I would die of suffocation if I tried wearing an N95 mask while cycling. I think I'll take cancer over asphyxiation, thanks.
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Old 10-29-08, 06:50 PM   #10
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Ok....well I understand what you all are saying. That the odds are rare and nobody can truly make the link.

That being said, MANY MANY times, a truck, bus, pick up truck passes by and I end up inhaling the exhaust fumes. That's what he associated his cancer to. Now, maybe he did get it from something else... but heck...those exhaust fumes can't be good for anyone.

This is what he was wearing http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1225327910556


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Old 10-29-08, 06:54 PM   #11
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An N-95 mask would do nothing to filter out toxic/carcinogenic fumes.
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Old 10-29-08, 07:20 PM   #12
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Did he mention the 3 packs a day that he smoked for 18 years?

Road pollution is all around us. Wearing a mask while riding is just wishful thinking on his part. He's probably in at least as much danger from house dust that he breaths in while sleeping.
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Old 10-29-08, 07:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macteacher View Post
That being said, MANY MANY times, a truck, bus, pick up truck passes by and I end up inhaling the exhaust fumes. That's what he associated his cancer to. Now, maybe he did get it from something else... but heck...those exhaust fumes can't be good for anyone.
Ride faster so that MANY MANY trucks, buses, and pickup trucks won't pass you.
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Old 10-29-08, 07:30 PM   #14
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Ride faster so that MANY MANY trucks, buses, and pickup trucks won't pass you.
right....i'll pump my speed up to 65 km/hr.. because im THAT fast.... lol
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Old 10-29-08, 09:37 PM   #15
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there have been several studies showing that the air in the interior of an automobile has far more carcinogenics and pollutants than the air surrounding the automobile. Due to the fire ******ants *(OMG! The GD censoring software just x'ed out the word re tard ants!) and plastics used in production of an automobile. These decompose over the life of the automobile into the air in the car. This combined with the outside air on the streets and highways is evidently a pretty toxic mix.

If you're going to wear a mask- wear it when you drive.
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Old 10-29-08, 09:57 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=BCRider;7757838]Did he mention the 3 packs a day that he smoked for 18 years?

I had cancer of the larnyx in 95 and lost all of one vocal chord and half of the other. I smoked 2 packs a day for 30 years. Most of the laryngectomies I've talked to smoked, worked in petro-chemical or the rag trade.

The only effect today is that I have to stay well hydrated or my throat itches.
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Old 10-29-08, 10:45 PM   #17
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Even though I live in a heavily populated county of 3.5 million, the traffic along most of the roads that I use is fairly light and there are few diesel trucks. The county transit system has replaced most of the diesel buses with CNG buses, which spew less than half the pollutants and particulates of diesels. Even the garbage trucks and street sweeper vehicles (my favorite city workers) have CNG vehicles. The biggest breathing hazard here is the general air pollution levels. Most of the time the AQI is between 50 and 100. This time of year, AQI gets above 100 fairly often when the wind slows down. Luckily this year we have not had any large wildfires in the nearby hills. Last year we had massive firestorms that dumped incredible particulate pollution into the air, resulting in a rainfall of ashes for almost 2 weeks. I was off the bike for that time last year, because the particle levels were so bad they exceeded the maximum amount of the air quality index scale. I had to wear particle breathing masks to walk to the bus stop and from bus stop into work.
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Old 10-29-08, 11:05 PM   #18
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Only an asbestos mask will stop those pollutants.
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Old 10-30-08, 09:04 AM   #19
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I hate cycling on a busy road if there's no cross wind. I dunno about cancer but it sure doesn't smell good.
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Old 10-30-08, 09:07 AM   #20
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You'd really need something like a P100 cartridge filter mask to effectively filter out the kinds of things you're exposed to when riding in traffic: Oil containing particulates and vapours.
An inexpensive half mask respirator can cost as little as $12.00, but then you have to buy the cartridges separately, and they'll run you about $25.00 a pair and you have to swap them out after their exposure lifespan, or else they lose efficacy.
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Old 10-30-08, 09:11 AM   #21
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Ah, this thread reminds me of Beijing -

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/sp...s/06masks.html
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Old 10-30-08, 09:23 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macteacher View Post
So I met another cyclist this afternoon on the bike un-friendly roads of Mississauga. He told me he wears a mask because of the pollutants, that eventually gave throat cancer. I was just in disbelief. Does anyone else wear a mask for these purposes? I wear mine simply for the cold...but never thought of wearing a for anything else.
I don't think most facemasks are good enough to filter out the dangerous but very small cancer inducing particles. Research indicates however, that cyclists and pedestrians are less at risk than car drivers. The car drivers may not smell the fumes as easily, but since they may ride directly behind other cars, the dangerous particles are sucked in through the air intakes into the drivers compartment.

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Old 10-30-08, 09:32 AM   #23
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there have been several studies showing that the air in the interior of an automobile has far more carcinogenics and pollutants than the air surrounding the automobile. Due to the fire ******ants *(OMG! The GD censoring software just x'ed out the word re tard ants!) and plastics used in production of an automobile. These decompose over the life of the automobile into the air in the car. This combined with the outside air on the streets and highways is evidently a pretty toxic mix.

If you're going to wear a mask- wear it when you drive.
Isn't this a lot like the helmet debate? Worried about one (unlikely) thing and dealing with it via a piece of equipment that is suspect in it's effectiveness, while ignoring the same threat in a different setting that is just as pressing?

Last edited by closetbiker; 10-30-08 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 10-30-08, 09:41 AM   #24
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Did the auto industry design all thier vehicles so the exhaust pipes would
smog pedestrians into getting a car? That thought crosses my mind
while I suck on exhaust from pipe after pipe after pipe.
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Old 10-30-08, 09:54 AM   #25
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I live in southern Taiwan, one of the many polluted cities in Southeast Asia, and, aside from the comments above, can honestly say there is a difference when wearing the mask.

I actually use the exact same mask above, as it is (supposedly) rated for aerosol and particulate matter using activated charcoal. Considering the pollution here, as compared to the U.S. and Canada, is about 10x worse and would be an asthmatics nightmare, I won't ride a day without my mask.

I doubt it filters exhaust, as I can still smell it through the mask, but it definitely reduces many of the other smells typical of this area. The majority of the pollution here is particulate matter - sulfides and the like from all the coal fired power plants, other nasty bits from all the garbage they burn (anything not recycled goes into the incinerator), flame-off from the petro-chemical refineries around every corner and massive amounts of dust and debris blown in from China / Gobi Desert / etc. The mask is fantastic for the particulates each of these generates, and definitely reduces allergies.

When I got off the plane 3+ years ago, I had an allergic attack immediately, so much so that I lost 90% of my hearing (temporarily) due to sinus / eustachian inflammation. Took a month to recover, but I wrote it off as just being overseas. During the course of my first year here, I was sick, on average, once every 3 weeks. I developed pneumonia, bronchitis and a chronic, wracking cough that lasted over 3 months.

Some friends who were leaving sold me the Respro Techno mask and extra filters. I've worn it every day since and have been sick, on average, twice a year ever since.

Is it the level of protection I really should get for living here? No. Does it make a difference? Yes. Will it prevent cancer? Who knows.

If you find you get chest infections, coughs, etc. more often than friends and family, it's worth a shot. If you live some where like the picture below, where you can't see the other side of the street on most winter days, you should probably get the mask. Also, I recommend multiple HEPA filters, house plants and sealant around every available opening (that's what I've done).

The first shot was from one of the worst days of pollution I've ever seen. It was a cloudless late autumn day around noon. I went inside a Carrefore (kinda like Wal-Mart) and it was even hazy in there.

The second is from a leg of the Tour De Taiwan '08 which went right by my house. The large, two-legged building in the background is about 100 feet shorter than the Empire State Building and less than 1 mile from where the picture was taken. The haze here was more typical, as you can easily see every detail of the building on a clear day.

What struck me more about the event, though, was hearing a foreign racer in the peloton call out to his team manager (shouting encouragement from the sidelines) that he "just couldn't breathe."
Attached Images
File Type: jpg real pollution.JPG (97.8 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg tour de taiwan.jpg (80.3 KB, 37 views)

Last edited by meteparozzi; 10-30-08 at 10:20 AM. Reason: added another picture, fixed some grammar
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