Costa Rica Coffee Guide

United Nations: Diesel exhaust causes cancer

June 14, 2012

From the print edition

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer research agency on Tuesday classified diesel-engine exhaust as cancer-causing, and urged action to reduce human exposure to it.

“Diesel-engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans,” Christopher Portier, chairman of a working group at WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), said in a statement.

There was also a “positive association” with an increased risk of bladder cancer, the U.N. body said.

“Large populations are exposed to diesel exhaust in everyday life, whether through their occupation or through the ambient air,” the statement said.

People are exposed to emissions of diesel cars, trains, ships and power generators, as are workers in fields such as underground mining.

“Given the additional health impacts from diesel particulates, exposure to this mixture of chemicals should be reduced worldwide,” Portier said.

Portier’s group on Tuesday also concluded that gasoline exhaust was possibly carcinogenic, a finding unchanged from its previous assessment in 1989.

The agency said environmental concerns had given rise to new regulations in the last two decades, notably in North America and Europe, resulting in a lower sulfur content for diesel, engine changes that burn fuel more efficiently and emission reductions through exhaust-control technology.

However, existing fuels and vehicles without the modifications will take years to be replaced, particularly in less-developed countries where regulatory measures are also less stringent.

The agency urged policy makers to work with engine and fuel manufacturers.

“The main studies that led to this conclusion were in highly exposed workers,” said the IARC’s Kurt Straif. “However, we have learned from other carcinogens, such as radon, that initial studies showing a risk in heavily exposed occupational groups were followed by positive findings for the general population.”

You may be interested

News briefs: Costa Rica news highlights to start your Friday
Costa Rica
1838 views
Costa Rica
1838 views

News briefs: Costa Rica news highlights to start your Friday

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 30, 2020

We hope you're reading this Costa Rica news while drinking a delicious  coffee and eating a traditional  gallo pinto. Here's the…

We asked the Costa Rican Tourism Minister your most pressing questions
Costa Rica
895 views
Costa Rica
895 views

We asked the Costa Rican Tourism Minister your most pressing questions

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 29, 2020

Starting November 1, Costa Rica will welcome tourists from anywhere in the world. Visitors have to obtain travel medical insurance,…

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Thursday, October 29
Costa Rica
5966 views
Costa Rica
5966 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Thursday, October 29

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 29, 2020

Costa Rica announced 17 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 1,357, according to official data…