Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Commuting to work? Diesel emissions increase cancer risk

This is a guest post from Electrocorp.

Diesel exhaust emissions can affect your
health and well-being, experts say.
Exposure to diesel fumes could be causing cancer at a greater rate than previously known, researchers say.

A new long-term study by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that miners exposed to diesel engine exhaust are three times more likely to contract fatal lung cancer, and that commuters on busy highways in smoggy, urban areas might face a similar risk.

The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

While diesel exhaust is currently classified as a “probable carcinogen”, health authorities will review this classification in the months to come.

A change in classifications could mean tighter regulations as well.

The study looked at 20 years of data on miners exposed to diesel exhaust and showed significant increases in the risk of lung cancer deaths with higher level of exposures, especially in miners working more than 5 years.

The study authors warn of the risks to Americans living in urban areas as well, although the risk is lower for lower doses of diesel exhaust.

Drivers getting stuck on long highway commutes may be exposed more than people standing on the sidewalk because of wind tunnel effect, experts say.

Commuters can help protect themselves by
  • Leaving car windows closed on busy highways and streets
  • Setting the air on “recirculate” to keep pollutants out
  • Having a HEPA filter installed in the car

Newer diesel cars are much cleaner than older models, experts say, but many older models are still being used on the streets.

Source: The Sun

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