Diesel exhaust linked to lung cancer

WHO agency says there is compelling evidence to classify diesel fumes as deadly carcinogen along with tobacco, asbestos dieselIllustration: Rustam VaniaThe International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization, gives its scientific verdict that diesel engine exhaust can cause lung cancer in humans. In its report released on June 12, IARC has reclassified diesel exhaust from its group 2A list of probable carcinogens to its group 1 list of substances that have definite links to cancer. IARC-WHO has now changed the status of diesel exhaust from “probable carcinogen” to “carcinogen”.

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How carcinogenic is your CAR?

Do you want a country full of cars? Cars cause cancer. Scientists can even measure the cancer potency levels of the cars we ride. The so-called cancer potency index has emerged as an important tool for risk assessment the world over. But think twice before you buy a diesel car over a petrol car. Swedish consultants at Ecotraffic found potency levels of diesel exhaust from Indian cars to be more than twice that from petrol. A German government finds diesel cars to be even worse. Meanwhile, more evidence has emerged that diesel emission is not only cancer-causing but can also trigger serious allergies and affect the poor the most. Down To Earth presents the findings of the three studies on the subject

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Air pollution is group 1 carcinogen, says WHO agency

Our cities urgently need action plan to meet clean air targets, given the high level of air pollution and increased incidence of lung cancerimageAir quality gains with technology can get nullified if vehicle numbers are not contained (Photo by Amit Shankar)The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization has declared that outdoor air pollution is group 1 carcinogen and that it is “carcinogenic to humans” [2]. This is the first time that the scientists have evaluated the air people breathe for its cancer-causing potential. This is a sharp departure from assessing only specific pollutants for cancer potency.
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Fuel inefficient India heading towards energy crisis

Energy insecurity is India’s latest tryst with her post-liberalised destiny. It began in July 2006. Crude oil prices rose to all time peak, at US $79 a barrel. In India, retail prices of petrol and diesel rose, respectively, 59.6 per cent and 78.8 per cent from 2002 levels. A compelled government, and the public oil sector companies, absorbed a staggering 87.5 per cent of the costs of the hike in oil prices.– (Credit: SAMRAT MUKHERJEE)– (Credit: SAMRAT MUKHERJEE)After the price hike last year, many Delhi-ites reportedly switched to buses and the metro–the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation flaunted a 12 per cent increase in trips.

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Fatal Attraction

The thirst for diesel in India is growing. Diesel mania grips the Indian automobile industry and the customers with more and more companies going for diesel variants. What most people are ignorant of or prefer to ignore is the fact that diesel fumes are highly carcinogenic and pose a serious threat to public health. Many Indian cities, especially Delhi, are already reeling under high concentrations of diesel-related pollutants like small particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and ozone. What was supposed to be cheap fuel for the poor – farmers for whose pumpsets and tractors the government had subsidised the price of diesel – is now driving the cars of the rich. Morally and environmentally reprehensible, yet there is nobody in the government to stop this killer trend

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