The World Health Organization (WHO) has changed the classification of diesel exhaust from Group 2A to Group 1–“possible carcinogen” to “carcinogen.” Even more recently, researchers at the University of New Mexico have linked air pollution to heart disease and Texas A&M University has linked diesel exhaust specifically to increased aging.
Some other Group 1 substances:
…among many other less well-known substances. You can read the full list HERE.
Now, you probably don’t encounter any of those substances every day, although there is more formaldehyde out there–and in our indoor air–than you would think, but diesel exhaust is something we all encounter all the time unless you live in a very rural area.
The chance of getting cancer from diesel exhaust for most of us is, however, small. But think about people who are exposed to large amounts of it every day. What about people who work in bus or train stations, truck drivers and miners. And add in smoking and you are really looking at inhaling a lot of toxins and a much higher risk of lung cancer.
Gasoline exhaust remains at its previous classification of “possible carcinogen.”
Right now, only about 2.5% of U.S. vehicles have diesel engines, but that number is expected to rise to as much as 8% by 2020, as reported by the Center for Automotive Research.
Hopefully, the classification of diesel exhaust as a definite carcinogen will lead to development of safer engines and less dangerous fuels as well as a higher level of awareness in countries that are only now beginning to use diesel vehicles more broadly.
Diesel engine makers claim that technological advancements have reduced diesel exhaust emissions from many vehicles by as much as 95%. Let’s hope that trend continues!
Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!