With all our technologies and science developments, we are at risk more than ever before. Perhaps polio and smallpox don’t kill people with millions now, but cancer does. Basically, almost all factors can put as at risk, from food to water, skin products, the sun and even the air. A report from WHO now says that diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer.
Until Tuesday’s World Health Organization (WHO) report on diesel engine exhaust, second hand cigarette smoke was the highest carcinogenic factor known. But diesel engine exhaust just got popped up as No. 1 and some of the wealthiest countries of the world are at risk.
The United States and other international powers require a heavy use of diesel engines to work their economies and industries. Despite obvious attempts to make the whole process leaner and healthier for the workers, most industries are still having a hard time keeping them at safe from health hazards.
On Tuesday, the WHO announced it has reclassified diesel engine exhaust from group 2A to group 1 of substances definitely linked to the development of cancer. “The working group found that diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer and also noted a positive association with an increased risk of bladed cancer” reads the report.
The working group led by Christopher Portier recommended that diesel engine exhaust “should be reduced worldwide” given their compelling scientific evidence that exposure causes lung cancer.
But the news wasn’t exactly easy to swallow by car makers. The issue is particularly controversial in Europe, where governments have been promoting the purchase of a diesel car. Allen Schaeffer, Diesel Technology Forum executive director in U.S., said: “New technology diesel engines, which use ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel, advanced engines and emissions control systems, are near zero emissions for nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulate matter”.
Basically, the auto industry reacted saying their diesel is safe and their state-of-the-art technologies made it that way. In the United States the diesel market is only starting to expand, but by 2015, 9 percent of the new autos sold in this market will run on diesel.
However, Portier added that “people are exposed not only to motor vehicle exhausts but also to exhausts from other diesel engines and from power generators”. In the end, the WHO wants to emphasize there is a strong need for public health action.