Diesel exhaust causes cancer, warns WHO

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

In 1988, the IARC had classified diesel exhaust as “probably” carcinogenic.

“Diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans,” News24 quoted Christopher Portier, chair of a working group at the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as saying.

The UN body said that there was also a “positive association” with an increased risk of bladder cancer.

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

People are exposed to the exhaust gases of diesel cars, trains, ships and power generators.

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

Portier``s group also concluded that petrol exhaust fumes were possibly carcinogenic, a finding unchanged from its previous assessment in 1989.


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