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Diesel fumes cause cancer - WHO
[Posted: Wed 13/06/2012 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that there is a definite link between diesel engine exhaust exposure and developing cancer.
It has called on Governments to take action to control diesel emissions.
After a week-long meeting of international experts in France, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the WHO, has classified diesel engine exhaust as causing cancer in humans, based on sufficient evidence that exposure is linked to an increased risk for lung cancer.
The WHO says there has been mounting concern about the cancer-causing potential of diesel exhaust, particularly based on findings from studies of workers exposed to diesel emissions.
It says the scientific evidence has now been reviewed thoroughly and there is now sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of diesel exhaust.
The IARC found that that there is now sufficient evidence that diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer and also noted more limited evidence of a link with developing bladder cancer.
It concluded that petrol exhaust is possibly carcinogenic to humans, a finding unchanged from a previous evaluation in 1989.
The WHO says large populations are exposed to diesel exhaust in everyday life, whether through their jobs or through the ambient air.
People are exposed not only to motor vehicle exhausts but also to exhausts from other diesel engines, including from other modes of transport like diesel trains and ships and from power generators.
The WHO says governments and other decision-makers now have a valuable evidence-base on which to consider environmental standards for tighter diesel exhaust emission rules and to continue to work with the engine and fuel manufacturers towards those goals.
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