Diesel Engine Exhaust Classified as Carcinogenic to Humans



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The French-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (?IARC?), which is part of the World Health Organization (?WHO?), recently announced that diesel exhaust fumes can cause cancer and belong in the same category as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas.  On June 12, 2012, the WHO announced that it is changing its designation of diesel exhaust as being probably carcinogenic to one that is considered to have a definite link to cancer. 


The changed classification was prompted by the following:


  • Since 1998, the IARC has recommended diesel exhaust for re-evaluation;
  • In March 2012, the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released a study concerning occupational exposures in underground miners to diesel exhaust, which reported an increased risk of death from lung cancer in heavily exposed workers in mines. 

Whether regulations will follow in the United States as a result of the U.S. National Cancer Institute?s study and the WHO?s reclassification remain to be seen.   


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