Diesel fuel is a type of fuel used in large engines to power vehicles like trucks, buses, trains, ships and some types of cars, as well as construction and farm equipment. There are many types of health concerns linked to breathing diesel fumes, including cancer, lung disease and heart disease.
Numerous studies, such as research conducted on miners who are constantly exposed to diesel exhaust, have shown they have a 50 percent greater risk of developing lung cancer. While lung cancer is on the top of the list, exposure is linked to a number of other cancers as well, such as pancreatic, kidney, bladder and larynx cancers.
As a major source of air pollution, diesel exhaust is also thought to contribute to other health problems like headaches, lung damage, asthma and other lung diseases, as well as eye irritation and a weaker immune system.
Children who ride school buses are more susceptible to air pollution than healthy adults, as their respiratory systems are still developing and they also have a faster breathing rate, particularly those who ride the bus an average of 90 minutes each weekday, according to an EPA study.
The Clean School Bus USA program is helping to decrease this risk by reducing unnecessary school bus idling, replacing older buses with newer, less-polluting buses and upgrading existing buses with technologies to reduce emissions. If your child rides the bus to school, you may want to ask if the school district is participating in this important program.
Everyone should try to limit time spent near large sources of diesel fumes like trucks and buses. A commute to and from work typically increases exposure, whether you drive yourself or use public transportation. If working from home is an option, this can lower your exposure as well as help you to save money on the expense of commuting.
Those who are exposed at work should also attempt to reduce exposure, such as by limiting the time spent near engines while they’re running and making sure you’re protected adequately by using personal protective equipment like respirators. Ventilating the exhaust away from where workers breathe may also be needed.
Reducing our nation’s reliance on diesel fuel is an important goal, but in the meantime, we all need to take steps to reduce our exposure in order to decrease our risk of disease and enjoy good health.
-The Alternative Daily