Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Diesel exhausts do cause cancer

Yes, this is the announcement from the University of the Blindingly Obvious World Health Organisation (WHO).
Exhaust fumes from diesel engines do cause cancer, a panel of experts working for the World Health Organization says.

It concluded that the exhausts were definitely a cause of lung cancer and may also cause tumours in the bladder.
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.

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.


DaveA said...

Well DK a non smoker can easily avoid other smoker's smoke but taking the kids to school, shopping in the high street people have no choice.

Something must be done!!!!!

Ban it, ban it, ban it.

View from the Solent said...

You haven't followed your train of thought to its logical conclusion. In filling stations, diesel pumps will be behind closed doors, with no indication of what's behind said doors.

Raedwald said...

We already know that poor air quality from vehicle exhausts kills some 29,000 Britons a year, and that the London consistently fails even the most generous air quality targets - because of vehicle fumes. It's not just particulates (PM10s and PM2.5s) but NO and particularly the carcinogenic PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) levels. On a smoggy day in London, levels will commonly reach 120 ng/m3. And what of smoking in cars?

If you were locked in a small 3m2 chamber (like a car)with a smoker who smoked an entire cigarette, the air inside would only have a PAH level of 0.5 - 8 ng/m3. On normal days in London, the roadside average for PAHs is 35 ng/m3. You're actually at far lower risk of carcinogens inside the sealed box with the smoker than in a non-smoking car with the window open.

As I've said before, banning smoking in public has absolutely nothing at all to do with the actual health risks of passive smoking, and everything to do with bigotry, prejudice, twisted science and spite. So suck in the smog, you Health Hoons, and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Just a little snippet
An inter city coach between Manchester and London
Pollutes the air WE ALL BREATH
AS MUCH AS 180,000 smokers of
Roll Up Golden Virginia Fags
one hundred and eighty thousand

"Smoke Free England"????????

Steve Perrett said...

Should we all stop smoking deisel engines now?
Where will it all end?

I want to know if Cameron is going to attend Parenting classes, after leaving his kid in the pub?

Woodsy42 said...

I suppose a number like 200/7 could be described as a fraction?

PeterMG said...

If your point is to point out the stupidity of the research of the WHO then I agree. If we are trying to imply diesel fumes are somehow a greater health hazard than smoking then think again.

Yet again researchers in an academic bubble have produced a study but not taken any account of the fact that today’s modern diesels, especially those fitted to heavy trucks are classified as zero emission engines. All that comes out the exhaust are CO2 and H2O, plus excess O2 and N2 which are the major constituents of the atmosphere. Not only are these vehicles fitted with Catalytic converters, but they have particulate traps as well. Cars are yet to catch up as the technology takes time to scale down, but it is happening. Vehicle emissions overall are falling faster than smoking rates especially now that non emission compliant cars are starting to be scraped. By the way the US where this study was done is 3 to 4 years ahead of Europe in introducing lower emissions levels and is where much of the technology has been developed.

So if it’s not smoking? And it’s absurd to blame it all on diesel engines what’s to blame for the increase? Or is it just as smoking rates fall, people who may have died of a heart attack now dies of lung cancer?

Also in the US when you fill your car with petrol the fumes are not allowed to escape to atmosphere as in Europe but are drawn back up the delivery tube. This was introduced with unleaded fuel because of the aromatic benzene. I bet we can’t quantify the improvement in health from the removal of lead from petrol.

Think about this. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who received low doses of radiation have a higher life expectancy than the average Japanese life expectancy. Real evidence or is it as a result of alert health monitoring of the “irradiated” people. Yet the scientific response to this data is to classify any amount of radiation to be harmful, ignoring the bigger picture. The Data from Chernobyl supports the findings in Japan.

So what are we to believe???? We could go around in circles or just get on with our lives. By the way, I have worked in and around London on and off for 30 or more years. Back then you would arrive at work covered in grime. Now I arrive back home without having to make the shower the first port of call. Real world evidence. I walk between Paddington station and Marylebone every day, and find the most offensive smells are from smokers, not cars or trucks or buses. Whilst I’m not advocating any further state interference in personal liberty, some smokers have no idea how offensively they peruse there passion at times. And yes I’m a long time reformed smoker. And my last point about those who continuously tell me that London’s air is dangerously polluted, is that I have unlimited visibility today as I look out my office window. As a keen photographer I notice these

Gonkione said...

If my memory serves correctly back in the early eighties a piece was published in, I believe, New Scientist, that told the story of lung cancer in Iceland. Apparrently back then, Icelanders were prolific smokers, and the incidences of lung cancer were quite rare. Then for some reason it was decided that a new fleet of Leyland diesel buses would be purchased for Rekyavik to replace the old electric trams. Within five years the incidences of lung cancer rose to alarming rates. The conclusions of the article were that the diesel fumes acted in conjunction with the tobacco smoke to cause this phenomenon. Never managed to find anything else about this, but since then diesel cars have become almost "lionised", while tobacco smoking has become demonised.

John's New Blog said...

"Obviously, that is not to dismiss smoking as a significant factor in lung cancer cases"

one thing we do know is that smoking is not a factor in lung cancer; unless you believe in Santa that is

Read Gaudermann et al ,
1997 at pp.208-209 the authors stated:

“The results from these analyses support previous findings that a major gene plays an important role in lung cancer risk. An additional finding not previously observed is that there is no apparent interaction between the putative lung cancer gene and smoking.”