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Diesel exhaust fumes may trigger cancer: WHO

WHO experts warn that diesel exhausts can cause cancer in humans.

By PressTV | 13 Jun 2012

Exhaust fumes from diesel engines, labeled as deadly as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas, can cause cancer in humans, experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) say.

WHO experts say the exhaust gases were a cause of lung cancer and may cause tumors in the bladder.

The comment comes after a panel of experts studied workers who were at the high risks of the cancer-causing potential of diesel and gasoline exhausts, such as miners, railway workers and truck drivers.

The experts called on people all over the world to try to reduce their exposure to fumes of diesel engines as much as possible.

The French-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the WHO, formerly ranked diesel exhausts as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

However, it has now labeled exhausts as substances that have definite links to cancer. Diesel fumes are now classified as deadly substances such as asbestos, arsenic, mustard gas, alcohol and tobacco.

Dr Christopher Portier, the head of the IARC working group, said in a statement that "the scientific evidence was compelling and the Working Group's conclusion was unanimous, diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans.”

"Given the additional health impacts from diesel particulates, exposure to this mixture of chemicals should be reduced worldwide," he added.

It is believed that workers who are at risk of diesel fumes are at increased risk of developing lung cancer. Dr Kurt Straif, from IARC working group, also said, "For most of the carcinogens when there is high exposure the risk is higher, when there is lower exposure the risk is lower."



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