Diesel Exhaust Exposure

Evaluating Risk Factors: Diesel Exhaust

Evaluating your likely current (and near future) state of health means taking into account the risk factors — such as diesel exhaust exposure — that affect you.   Our medical diagnosis tool, The Analyst™, identifies major risk factors by asking the right questions.

If you indicate exposure to hazardous substances, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Have you suffered exposure to diesel exhaust fumes (as opposed to exhaust fumes in general)? For example, diesel mechanics, truck drivers, working at a truck stop, etc.
Possible responses:
→ No exposure / don't know
→ Light exposure for a short time
→ Light exposure for a long time
→ Heavy exposure for a short time
→ Heavy exposure for a long time

The Diagnostic Process

Based on your response to this question, which may indicate mild diesel exhaust exposure, significant diesel exhaust exposure or severe diesel exhaust exposure, The Analyst™ will use differential diagnosis to consider possibilities such as:
Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever
Diesel exhaust fumes and ozone can enhance the effects of inhaled allergens or have an effect on immune function.
Indoor Allergies
Diesel exhaust fumes and ozone can enhance the effects of inhaled allergens or have an effect on immune function.
Lung Cancer
Human epidemiological studies demonstrate an association between diesel exhaust exposure and increased lung cancer rates in occupational settings.  A preliminary report, still undergoing review by experts, states that "For carcinogenic hazard and risk of cancer over a lifetime, the EPA is recommending that exposure (to diesel exhaust) be viewed as likely to pose a risk at low levels, as well as high levels."

The draft report, which can be accessed at the agency's website at www.epa.gov, is based on an overview analysis of dozens of animal- and human-based studies.  It explains that the particulate matter found in diesel fumes is very small in diameter and thus able to penetrate deeply into the lungs upon inhalation.  The report authors also note that "light-duty diesel engines emit 50-80 times and heavy-duty engines 100-200 times more particulate matter than catalytically equipped gasoline engines."

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Environmental Risk Factors