Wet Cold Weather: How It Affects Cancer Risk
The researchers adjusted their analysis to control for age, gender, ethnicity, income level, population age, and diversity. All of these factors have previously been shown to influence cancer rates.
The results showed that cancer rates were higher in very cold regions compared with hot, dry climates. However, the only exception was lung cancer — which was most prevalent in hot, dry zones.
Why Think Weather Can Even Trigger Cancer?
The study authors have several theories as to why wet cold weather increases cancer risk. For example, they explain that on the East Coast, increased rainfall gives forth alkaline elements such as magnesium and potassium from the soil. This makes the soil more acidic.
In acidic soil, and also in colder zones, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria are more common.
These bacteria convert ammonia to nitrites. In more acidic conditions, nitrites may convert into nitrous acid, which is released into the atmosphere. Health authorities consider nitrous acid a carcinogen.
Another theory points to an overworked metabolism. In colder climates, the body experiences higher levels of metabolic stress. Your body tries to maintain adequate body temperature levels. This additional strain, though, could increase the cancer risk.