Much delayed lung cancer study is finally published. The government study on 12,000 miners confirms that exposure to diesel engine exhaust increases lung cancer risk significantly. The two papers that detail the results appear in Journal of the National Cancer Institute. While one of the papers concludes that lung cancer induced by diesel exposure may represent a probable public health burden, the other, notes that in future occupational and environmental exposure to high diesel exhaust should be reduced from levels encountered during the study by making more prolific use of cleaner burning diesel engines.
Diesel Exhaust Carcinogenic
Diesel exhaust has always been considered to be a potential carcinogen. The 20-year long study by the National Cancer Institute tracked 12,000 mineworkers who mined for lime, nonmetals, and potash and linked increased lung cancer risk to those exposed to diesel exhaust. The miners breathe in varying amounts of exhaust from diesel-powered equipments. Those who were exposed heavily increased their risk of death by lung cancer by almost three times when compared to workers who were exposed lesser according to the results of the published papers.
Lead author, Debra Silverman, epidemiologist, NCI, reveal that the study also points out that even mineworkers with low exposure to diesel exhaust too increased their lung cancer risk by 50%. The results have a larger significance considering that over 1.4 million workers in America and over 3 million workers in Europe as well as majority of the urban population world over are continuously exposed to diesel exhaust. The alarming increase in diesel exposure levels in major cities of the world is comparable to the miners with low exposure making the results of the study as significant as ever for everyone.
The release of the study findings had been delayed due to litigation from a group of mining companies.
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