Study of Miners Exposed to Diesel Fuel Finally Published
Sunday, March 04, 2012
Diesel exhaust is hazardous to your health…but the diesel industry does not want you to know that. That is the basic message underlying two papers just published in the prestigious Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The papers are based on a large study of more than 12,000 miners who were frequently exposed to high concentrations of exhaust from diesel engines, which are widely used in the mining industry. Those miners most heavily exposed to the exhaust had a risk of dying from lung cancer three times higher than it was for those exposed to low doses. For non-smokers, the risk was seven times higher. Both studies provide evidence that diesel exhaust exposure may cause lung cancer in humans and may represent a potential public health burden.
Although the diesel exhaust study was conceived in 1992, industry opposition, led by the Mining Awareness Resource Group (MARG), kept the results secret until now. In June 2001, MARG won a court order giving it and the House Education and Workforce Committee the right to pre-publication review of any study-related publications. In August 2011, MARG won a contempt order against the Department of Health and Human Services (parent of the two institutes that conducted the study), for not fully complying with the 2001 court order. That contempt order is stayed while the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decides an appeal filed by the government.
As even diesel’s detractors admit, newer diesel engines are designed to cut emissions by as much as 85%, thus focusing concern on older engines. Diesel engines, for good or ill, are well-known for their durability and longevity, so older engines and their toxic exhaust will be with us for quite a while.
To Learn More:
Long-Delayed Diesel Study Published (by Jim Morris, iWatch News)
Landmark Diesel Exhaust Study Stalled amid Industry and Congressional Objections (by Jim Morris, iWatch News)
The Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study: A Nested Case–Control Study of Lung Cancer and Diesel Exhaust (by Debra T. Silverman, et al., Journal of the National Cancer Institute) (pdf)
The Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study: A Cohort Mortality Study With Emphasis on Lung Cancer (by Michael D. Attfield, et al., Journal of the National Cancer Institute) (pdf)
Mining Companies Block Publication of 20-Year Study of Miners Exposed to Diesel Fumes (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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