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06/11/2013 10:20 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

China's Smog & Pollution Blamed For Lung Cancer Diagnosis Of Girl, 8

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China has ongoing pollution problems, pictured is Beijing

China's asphyxiating pollution and smog is being blamed for an eight-year-old girl's diagnosis of lung cancer.

Media reports say the unnamed girl has become the mainland's youngest cancer patient, with her illness being attributed directly to environmental factors.

Living by a busy road in China's heavily industrialised Jiangsu province, the girl is said to have spent her life inhaling copious dust and superfine PM2.5 particles, Dr Feng Dongjie of Jiangsu Cancer Hospital told China News Service.

The particles are the most dangerous and toxic component of smog and are widely blamed for the rising rates of cancer in China.

Deaths from lung cancer in Beijing surged by 56 per cent between 2001 and 2010, the same decade of China's industrialisation and construction boom, The Times writes.

Lung cancer cases among children are extremely rare, with the average age for diagnosis at about 70, according to the American Cancer Society.

smog china mask

A woman and her son wearing walk along a road as heavy smog engulfs Changchun, northeast China, in October

A fortnight ago, thick smog cloaked much of Harbin, in northeast China.

Visibility dropped to less than 10 meters in parts, prompting the city's official news site to remark "You can't see your own fingers in front of you."

According to The Associated Press, fine particulate matter readings taken in Harbin indicated air pollution in the area was 40 times higher than the international safety standard set by the World Health Organisation.

As air pollution hit new highs in Beijing in January, the ensuing city shut-down prompted mayor Wang Anshun to promise action including restrictions on car sales and legislation to take 180,000 old vehicles, which churn out noxious gases, off the road.

Heavy Smog Continues To Disrupt Northeast China, October 2013