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Sunday, February 22 2009

Have you seen this article from the Curiosity Shop?

 

Lung Cancer, whats that got to do with Delivery Drivers?

Quite a lot actually. Especially if you don’t want one of these ugly tumours on your lungs. If you are a courier, trucker or delivery driver, read through the information below, and tell me what you think.

Lung cancer
Image via Wikipedia

An up to date article in News Inferno was very interesting reading and informative…

Recent research suggests  that lung cancer risks are higher among trucking industry workers because of diesel fume exposure.  According to a new study published in the January issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, workers in the trucking industry with an estimated 20 years on the job have an elevated risk of lung cancer with each increasing year of work due to their diesel fume exposure.

A lot of drivers are career drivers. They start in their 20s and still drive until they are retired, some often continuing part time during retirement. For many, driving for a living is something they really enjoy.

The article goes on to say -

Scientists have long known that diesel fumes might play a role in the development of lung cancer.  According to a report on SFgate.com, diesel fumes consist of a toxic stew of about 400 chemicals, including benzene, formaldehyde, arsenic, cyanide and lead.  Breathing large amounts of diesel fumes could cause respiratory diseases, and people with asthma, heart disease and emphysema can worsen if exposed to the exhaust. Long-term exposure leads to chronic obstructive lung disease as well as lung cancer.

So, it’s the long term exposure that does the damage. The longer you drive, the more chance you have of getting it. A case control study was done back in 1990 and the report says at the end..

Overall, our results suggest that diesel truck drivers have an excess risk of lung cancer compared to other teamsters in jobs outside the trucking industry. However, our findings were not uniformly consistent and our data have many limitations, the most important of which is the lack of data on exposure to diesel fumes.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

In the US, the EPA have been making big inroads into reducing the danger. A tough task considering most areas of the US and the Uk are urbanised so diesel fumes are in every breath we take. As much as 25% of the breath we take in highly urbanised areas, more if there is a port nearby and the diesel fumes from the ships engines are in the air.

Early in 2001, the EPA issued landmark standards to clean up dirty diesel trucks and buses, comparable to the advent of the catalytic converter on cars several decades ago. When the standards take full effect in 2007, they are expected to reduce emissions from trucks and buses by more than 90 percent, the equivalent of taking 13 million of the nation’s 14 million trucks and buses off the roads.

Source: ENS

The article from the ENS website goes on to outline the effort from the Bush administration. It  also clearly higlights the failings in the US - emissions trading programs. So rather than clean up their act the worst polluters get to trade credits with cleaner, greener companies. I cannot see how this would work myself, and seems like a fraudulent way of dealing with the issue.

In addition to concluding that diesel fumes likely cause lung cancer, the EPA found that diesel exhaust triggers asthma and other respiratory effects, calling the fumes “a chronic respiratory hazard to humans.” Based on animal testing and studies of people in jobs with high exposures, the fumes were shown to be carcinogenic, or cancer causing.

The agency did not attempt to quantify the cancer risk from exposure to diesel emissions, though the report notes that the risk is likely to be higher for people who regularly work with or around diesel engines. But even everyday exposure to background levels of diesel fumes probably puts people at risk, the EPA said.

What can an employer do to limit diesel fumes for their drivers? Is there an efficient way of filtering the exhaust fumes so that the carcinogens are contained?

My thoughts on this are two fold, is this coming to light now to try and encourage people to buy environmentally vehicles? Is it diesel that is doing the evil deed? Why isn’t it coal fires, petrol or another type of fuel? Or is it the sad fact that all of these contribute to it, and its our delivery drivers that are taking home the tumours.

For excellent information and research on cancer, more information can be found on the pharma strategy blog written by Sally Church.

Sarah

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Posted by: The DOT Doctor AT 10:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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