These days, the earth’s resources seem to be vulnerable to the wear and tear of humankind, and people all over the globe are clamoring to repair the ill effects of modern convenience. Included on that priorities list is the earth’s atmosphere, itself, and automobile emissions appear to be public enemy number one. Not only do these fumes affect our environment, but they also undoubtedly affect the people who must breathe them in (which is basically all of us). Diesel exhaust, especially, is getting a lot of attention lately, and is raising some serious health concerns. Here’s why.
All about diesel. For many years, diesel has been classified as a known carcinogen – or, cancer-causing agent. Diesel is used to power high-powered engines in trunks and other large machinery.
The study. A study by the National Cancer Institute, spanning about twenty years over which 12,000 mine workers were tracked, just recently shed light on the depth and gravity of diesel’s effects on the human body. These workers were housed in facilities that mine things like potash and lime, and were exposed to diesel fumes emitted by mining machinery on a daily basis. The amount of exhaust they inhaled varied according to the stage of the job they were in, but exposure was certainly chronic.
The findings. Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in late February of 2012, the National Cancer Institute study findings sent a shock wave through the public forum. The study revealed that the mine workers who had the most exposure to diesel exhaust were three times as likely to die from lung cancer as were the workers who had little exposure. Workers who had mid-range exposure (as compared to the high and low exposure groups) were twice as likely to die from lung cancer.
The reach of diesel danger. Of course, we are all exposed to diesel fumes, on varying levels, even if we don’t work in a mine . . . so how does this study affect the average person? Well, it depends on where you live. The world’s more highly populated and industrial areas (like Mexico, Portugal and China, for example) have a relatively high exhaust pollution rating – comparable to the miners who were mildly exposed to exhaust. Therefore, diesel exhaust could have a devastating effect on some very major portions of the world.
There is no question that what harms the earth, harms its people. Serious reform is our only defense (and protection) against diesel’s harmful effects.
About the Author: Buford Nessner love studying the impact of fuel on the environment and is carefully watching studies regarding diesel. When he’s not working, he can be found researching sites like yeastinfection.org while learning more about common health conditions affecting both men and women regularly.