WHO: Diesel exhaust fumes causes cancer

WHO states that diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer, and has a positive association with increased risk of bladder cancer
June 12, 2012 by Jeff

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared in a press release that diesel engine exhaust is carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.

Dr Christopher Portier, Chairman of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working Group, stated that "The scientific evidence was compelling and the Working Group's conclusion was unanimous: diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans".

The scientific evidence was reviewed by the working Group and it was concluded that there was sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of diesel exhaust. The group found that diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer and has a positive association increased risk of bladder cancer (Group 1).

Possible carcinogenic agents are typically divided into four categories shown below.

Evaluation groups Definitions
Group 1: The agent is carcinogenic to humans. This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.
Group 2: The agent is probably/possibly carcinogenic to humans evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.
Group 3: The agent is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans. This category is used most commonly for agents for which the evidence of carcinogenicity is inadequate in
humans and inadequate or limited in experimental animals
Group 4: The agent is probably not carcinogenic to humans This category is used for agents for which there is evidence suggesting lack of carcinogenicity in humans
and in experimental animals.
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