No Surprise: Diesel Exhaust Causes Cancer

Thursday, June 14, 2012
The cancer research wing of the World Health Organization has determined exhaust from diesel engines causes cancer.
The determination by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that diesel fumes are a human carcinogen expands upon its decision in 1988 that the exhaust was a “probable” link to lung cancer.
In its latest decision, IARC experts added they found “limited evidence” linking diesel fumes to bladder cancer.
The IARC finding is in line with a U.S. study from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which found diesel exhaust increased the risk of lung cancer for non-smoking miners.
Labeling diesel fumes as cancer-causing will likely have a larger impact in developing nations than in the United States, which already requires industry to use cleaner burning engines.
However, the WHO decision “may eventually affect some American workers who are heavily exposed to exhaust,” according to Donald McNeil Jr. of The New York Times. Among those most at risk are miners and toll collectors.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
W.H.O. Declares Diesel Fumes Cause Lung Cancer (by Donald McNeil Jr., New York Times)
IARC: Diesel Engine Exhaust Carcinogenic (International Agency for Research on Cancer) (pdf)


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