Ultrafine particles (UFP) are unregulated air pollutants abundant in aviation exhaust. Emerging evidence suggests that UFPs may impact lung health due to their high surface area-to-mass ratio and deep penetration into airways. This study aimed to assess long-term exposure to airport-related UFPs and lung cancer incidence in a multiethnic population in Los Angeles County.


Within the California Multiethnic Cohort, we examined the association between long-term exposure to airport-related UFPs and lung cancer incidence. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate the effect of UFP exposure on lung cancer incidence. Subgroup analyses by demographics, histology and smoking status were conducted.


Airport-related UFP exposure was not associated with lung cancer risk [per one IGR HR, 1.01; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.97–1.05] overall and across race/ethnicity. A suggestive positive association was observed between a one IQR increase in UFP exposure and lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) risk (HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.00–1.17) with a Phet for histology = 0.05. Positive associations were observed in 5-year lag analysis for SCC (HR, 1.12; 95% CI, CI, 1.02–1.22) and large cell carcinoma risk (HR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.01–1.49) with a Phet for histology = 0.01.


This large prospective cohort analysis suggests a potential association between airport-related UFP exposure and specific lung histologies. The findings align with research indicating that UFPs found in aviation exhaust may induce inflammatory and oxidative injury leading to SCC.


These results highlight the potential role of airport-related UFP exposure in the development of lung SCC.

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