Exhaust fumes from diesel engines do cause cancer, a panel of experts working for the World Health Organization says.Whilst smoking has been the bete noire for lung cancer for some decades, the habit's portrayal in the media as the prime cause of lung cancer has never made any sense. Comparing per capita lung cancer rates with per capita smoking rates has seen the data move in opposite directions: whilst rates of lung cancer have increased, smoking has decreased.
It concluded that the exhausts were definitely a cause of lung cancer and may also cause tumours in the bladder.
Obviously, that is not to dismiss smoking as a significant factor in lung cancer cases, but it has long been obvious that there must be another, far more pervasive, causative factor—and car exhausts have always been a prime candidate (especially since tetra-ethyl lead was replaced with benzene as an anti-knocking agent).
As such, the WHO's announcement hardly comes as a surprise.
However, given that this shocking health risk has been confirmed, I now look forward to the WHO-driven lobbying for a ban on diesel car advertising—accompanied by health warnings on diesel car doors, a ban on driving diesel cars in public, diesel car display bans and plain paint jobs for diesel cars.
Because, with smoking, it is all about the health aspects, right...?
But director of cancer information Dr Lesley Walker said the overall number of lung cancers caused by diesel fumes was "likely to be a fraction of those caused by smoking tobacco".Um. Yes. Possibly. Although, given the lack of evidence for health effects from second-hand smoke, quite possibly not.