The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the WHO, reclassified diesel exhausts from its group 2A of probable carcinogens to its group 1 of substances that have definite links to cancer.
The experts, who said their decision was unanimous and based on “compelling” scientific evidence, urged people worldwide to reduce their exposure to diesel fumes as much as possible.
“The working group found that diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer and also noted a positive association with an increased risk of bladder cancer,” IARC said in a statement.
The decision was the result of a week-long meeting of independent experts who assessed the latest scientific evidence on the cancer-causing potential of diesel and gasoline exhausts.
It puts diesel exhaust fumes in the same risk category as a number of other noxious substances including asbestos, arsenic, mustard gas, alcohol and tobacco.
Christopher Portier, chairman of the IARC working group, said the group’s conclusion “was unanimous, that 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 said in a statement.
Source: Reuters News 12 June 2012
Interestingly, I note later in the piece that petrol exhaust fumes have remained at the ‘probably cause cancer’ stage.
- Diesel fumes cause cancer – WHO (bbc.co.uk)