Although no one ever believed that inhaling black, grit-filled smoke would do you any favors, the World Heath Organization notes that doing so is much worse than merely unkind: the WHO has officially decreed that inhaling diesel fumes can cause lung cancer and has added the fumes to its list of Group 1 Carcinogens, those known to cause cancer in humans. That puts diesel plumes in the same homicidal company as arsenic, strontium-90, neutron radiation and being a painter, and makes it worse than second-hand smoke.

However, according to The New York Times, scientists say you only need be concerned if your job or environment places you in direct, long-term contact with diesel exhaust. Workers like miners and toll collectors were mentioned as prime examples, with one study showing that miners subected to diesel fumes for years had a lung cancer risk that was seven times greater than nonsmokers. Just walking by an accelerating school bus or owning a diesel car won't be an issue, though. Said one scientist, "I don't think it's bad to have a diesel car. I don't think it's good to breathe its exhaust."

The American Cancer Society is expected to follow the WHO's move shortly. If your job or corner of the world makes this a troubling bit of news, you might find some temporary solace by noting one of the other hugely popular substances lumped with diesel exhaust in the Group 1 Carcinogens: alcoholic beverages.


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  • 148 Comments
      jonnybimmer
      • 2 Years Ago
      What?? You're saying doing things like this can give you cancer? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_2k5M0b-k4 What's next, fast food can make you fat? /s
      • 2 Years Ago
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      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well duh. The reason why we don't have diesels in the US is because we regulate noxious and carcinogenic fumes, not CO2. When you take the real poisons out of the exhaust, you sacrifice a little fuel efficiency for a much better quality of air.
      pwr2lbs
      • 2 Years Ago
      This just in..... Being alive causes cancer!
      Seph
      • 2 Years Ago
      In Manila, once you ride an airplane, you'll really see how dirty is the air you've breathed there. The main culprits are those jeepneys that keeps using old diesel engines. No wonder many people there die of tuberculosis or lung cancer. It really made me laugh when those small-brain lawmakers banned smoking almost anywhere in the city, but not those old diesel engines.
      rodoner
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another excuse to control us. I've worked around diesels all my life as have many... Bureaucrats should stay out of our lives
        Tracie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rodoner
        My husband has been a diesel mechanic at a local railroad for 24 years, and not one cancer cell...this is BOGUS!!!
      saultydog42
      • 2 Years Ago
      The real truth in this is the fact that the Government doesnt want you to buy Diesel because it gets 2 to 3 times the mileage as gasoline, the Government doesnt want you to buy Diesel because NOBAMA is pushing Hybrids and total electric vehicles, I have a diesel sprinter by Mercedes and I would bet that not one person could smell the exaust and tell me for sure it is a diesel, diesel engines arent the old stinky black smoking engines of the past, they are clean with less sulphur and the scrubbers today tames advantage of every ounce of fuel it uses, My Sprinter has a 3.0 diesel with a turbl and it gets 26 miles per gl and is very powerful, this van is heavy also, a comparable vehicle in its size running gas would get 5-9 mpg. NOBAMA wants rid of all fossile fueled vehicles.
        mrhalcyon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @saultydog42
        They left out the fact that snorting gasoline fumes all day is also well known to be carcinogenic. That's one of the reasons that warehouses are required to use either electric forklifts or propane forklifts. No gas or diesel allowed.
        mrhalcyon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @saultydog42
        It has nothing to do with Obama or Hybrids. Yes, Diesel has much more energy per gallon then gasoline. Yes, with modern improvements, it can be cleaner burning then gasoline. The political anti diesel kick started back in the 80's and continues today. Remember in the 70's when diesel was cheaper then gasoline? Then they started making diesel cars(some of them were junk, some were ok) and the price went through the roof and the anti-diesel campaign began. It should be cheaper to produce and could have drastically reduced our need for foreign fuels. I'm in favor of hybrids, electric cars, etc. but I'm also in favor of anything that reduces our total petro consumption, including diesel.
          metusmetu
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mrhalcyon
          The junk diesel cars came from GM. You see, GM found out it had around 6 warehouses full of 350 cu. in. blocks, and no way to get rid of them until they came up with the brilliant (actually stupid) idea to convert them into diesel motors for their big land yachts, Cadillac, Buick, Olds, etc.. Not only did these motors fall apart after a few thousand miles (blocks could not handle the high compression), they had no turbos, they stank, blew black smoke, were extremely loud (valve clatter), this was a very bad move on GM's part, and it put a lot of people off of diesels for quite some time! I mean who would want a motor like that in their big time Cadillac Luxury Car??
      vtmilitia
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lead paint kills,asbestos kills,tobacco kills,transfats kill,leaded gas kills and now diesel too. I've worked with all of the above as did my late father who died at 81 yrs. old. You got to do better than that these days to scare me.
      eb50tj
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe the next thing will be clean living and exercise cause cancer... The bottom line is you have to die of SOMETHING... Like a doc friend said, Live large, you are only taking off the bad years...
      kjasperkc
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is all about agendas and money. HAHAHAHAHA! Real people are wise to it!
      shoottathril2000
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thats funny, after all the emission systems put in place to reduce diesel smoke output from '06 to date and now it still causes cancer. Even with the DPF, DEF systems it can cause cancer? I'm calling this BS.
      crabbo71
      • 2 Years Ago
      i think that breathin gasoline fumes can kill you also...notice the "scary" come-on of the headline,,,pure bullshit....it is people like a.o.l that brings this "crap" to the uneducated masses...is the cancer rate in europe higher than the u.s.,,,i don't think so,,and they have a whole lot more deisel cars and small trucks than the u.s... it is about time that the u.s.a. got on the bandwagon and allowed diesel vehicles to be sold here.....every car maker in the world has a diesel car...yes matilda they do,,,they just aren't sold here !!!!
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