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Quitting Diesel is Good for Your Health

Diane Bailey reports on a new study's findings linking diesel exhaust to lung cancer. The findings have sparked concern for people who live in large cities with high levels of diesel pollution.
March 6, 2012, 6am PST | Alesia Hsiao
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A study released last week adds to the growing amount of evidence that diesel exhaust can cause cancer.

Based on the findings from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), "among heavily exposed miners who typically work underground, the risk of dying from lung cancer was roughly three times greater than for other miners working on the surface. That risk jumps to a seven fold increase of lung cancer for miners who do not smoke."

Bailey suggests that this has raised concerns for people living in urban environments, nearby busy freeways, rail yards and ports that emit large doses of diesel exhaust.

"Environmental exposure to average diesel PM [particulate matter] levels found in many large cities like Los Angeles and New York City over a lifetime approximates the cumulative exposures experienced by the "low exposure" miners group, which had a fifty percent increased lung cancer risk in the miners' study."

Bailey argues that replacing older diesel vehicle with a new generation of clean burning diesel equipment is needed for the sake of public health.

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Published on Monday, March 5, 2012 in Switchboard
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