Diesel–the Dark Side of Industry
"On Thursday, industry representatives, environmentalists and scientists spent the day debating the link between diesel exhaust and lung cancer and the implications for California’s economy and public health."
"From truckers to farmers to manufacturers, industry leaders descended Thursday on the California Air Resources Board in an effort to stop the board from declaring diesel exhaust a potent cancer-causing danger to the public."
"Trucking companies and engine manufacturers worry that if the air board implicates diesel exhaust as a potent carcinogen, they could be held liable for paying massive damages for causing people’s cancers. Even without an outright ban on diesel, the air board’s decision would make it difficult to operate a wide variety of businesses that depend on the engines, from grocery stores to construction firms, industry officials say"
"In April, the state’s Scientific Review Panel concluded that diesels could be killing more than 14,000 Californians by causing 450 lung cancers among every 1 million people exposed to average concentrations over a lifetime. Based on that risk estimate, diesel exhaust ranks sixth in potency of 19 air pollutants now identified as hazardous.
More than 30 human health studies from around the world show a link between diesel exhaust and cancer–more so than with any other substance reviewed by the state in 15 years, said John Froines, a leading environmental health specialist at UCLA who heads the Scientific Review Panel. In the studies, railroad crews and other workers regularly exposed to large doses of the fumes suffered 40% more lung cancer than average."
Diesel–the Dark Side of Industry
"For two days in a row, as he unloaded baggage from jets at Los Angeles International Airport, clouds of soot poured out of a malfunctioning diesel-powered loading machine. For 23 years Lewis worked for airlines, taking pride in hardly ever calling in sick. But now his head ached, his eyes burned and his nose ran. Coughs racked his body. Suddenly he could barely breathe.
Examined by a doctor, Lewis was shocked to learn, according to court documents, that his airways were severely scarred. A specialist told him he was suffering the sudden onset of an unusual respiratory disease, an “industrial asthma,” caused by the intense bouts of diesel smoke exposure.
“An irreversible condition,” the pulmonologist said, “with a poor prognosis.” The fumes had eaten away at the lining of his airways, leaving them so hypersensitive he had to live on oxygen 24 hours a day, confined to his home"
"The danger is not just from the sort of sudden, extreme exposure that afflicted Lewis, but from everyday, lower doses as well. Exactly how much the public is endangered and how best to protect people from trucks and other machinery is now among the most contentious issues facing environmental officials."
"The 4 million Americans who operate diesel machines on the job face the most serious risks.
Their chances of dying from lung cancer rise 20% to 40% compared with the general population, according to a Health Effects Institute review of about 40 studies by epidemiologists"
"At the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles–massive operations that are filled with trucks, ships, trains and cranes–workers breathe some of the most severe doses of diesel exhaust found anyplace in California."
"Studies show that truck cabs contain the same amount of carbon particles as the surrounding highway air. But because truckers spend more time on highways than the general population, they probably breathe more pollutants into their lungs.
In one federal study, truckers with more than 35 years on the job faced an 89% increase in lung cancer compared with the general public. The study controlled for both smoking and diet.
A Harvard University study that tracked 55,000 railroad workers who died before 1980 found that their cancer rate increased with years of exposure–those with more than 15 years on the job had a 72% greater rate of dying from lung cancer than the general population"