In 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – a prominent agency that is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) – classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans and concluded that exposure is associated with increased risk of lung cancer and bladder cancer. This is not entirely a new finding. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also concluded in 2002 that exposure to diesel exhaust or fumes was associated with lung cancer. Do a little bit of poking around on the internet and you can find research on negative health risks of diesel exhaust dating back decades.
Adverse Effects of Diesel Exhaust
Diesel engines provide power to many types of equipment used in a large number of industries, including transportation, mining, construction, agriculture, as well as many manufacturing operations. Diesel exhaust is a mixture of gases and particulates produced during the combustion of diesel fuel.
And if you’re a worker exposed to diesel exhaust? Well, that means you face an increased risk a host of adverse health effects:
- Short-term exposure to high concentrations of diesel exhaust can cause headaches, dizziness, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Prolonged exposure can increase the risk of cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary and respiratory disease and lung cancer
Protections in Place?
There have been improvements in regulatory protections to safeguard against exposure to this toxic chemical. Miners, for example, are covered by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and other workers are covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Improvements to diesel fuel and diesel engines have also reduced the emissions of pollutants associated with diesel exhaust. The use of other fuels – such as natural gas, propane, or electricity – can offer healthier alternatives.
But just because protections are put in place does not mean they are always followed. Take recent allegations against auto manufacturing giant Ford Motor Company. A recent class action lawsuit was filed against Ford Motor Company and supplier Bosch that claims the company rigged more than 500,000 larger pickup trucks to beat emissions tests, resulting in the release of emissions that are as much as 50 times the legal limits.
Sound familiar? Last year Bosch agreed to pay $327.5 million to U.S. owners of Volkswagen cars for its part in installing illegal emissions-cheating software.
What You Can Do
If you suffer from an adverse health effect related to diesel exhaust exposure there are actions you can take. A lawsuit is often necessary to maximize settlements in cases of toxic chemical exposure. The Dysart Law Firm, P.C. has fought some of the world’s largest corporations to obtain compensation for victims of corporate negligence and greed. Contact us today at 888.586.7041.