An eight-year-old girl in China’s Jiangsu province became the country’s youngest lung cancer patient and locals blame air pollution. Chinese cities like Beijing are renowned for being covered by a thick unhealthy smog, and these extreme levels of air pollution have long been linked with respiratory illnesses and premature deaths. New figures from the Beijing municipal health bureau released this week by the state-run Xinhua news agency show the number of lung cancer cases in that city has increased by over 50 percent in the last decade.

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The hospital treating the eight-year-old girl denied the link between her lung cancer and air pollution, according to BBC News, but locals are not convinced. The WHO estimates that more than half of the lung cancer deaths attributable to breathing in fine particles around the world occur in China and other East Asian countries. This is becoming an increasing concern among Beijing residents who say that the air pollution has increased due to rapid expansion and poorly enforced environmental laws. But health officials claim smoking is still the number one cause. They admit that air pollution could also be a factor, but could not explain the recent spike in lung cancer patients.

Via BBC News

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