International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an integral body of World Health Organization (WHO), has declared diesel fumes as a public health threat. Automotive engine exhaust, especially diesel powered vehicles, puts one at the risk of cancer.
The France-based health agency reclassified diesel fumes exhausts from its group 2A of carcinogens to group 1 of noxious substances such as those similar to asbestos, arsenic, tobacco, alcohol and mustard gas exposure, compounds with definite links to cancer. Classification of diesel fumes to group 1 was unanimous, based on scientific evidence. IARC advisory committee was asking for re-evaluation of diesel category since 1998.
Research panel found positive connection of diesel fumes with lung cancer and bladder cancer. In Indian context, the findings came when demand of diesel versions of automobiles are in a bullish trend. The news is less impactful for Europe and America where diesel automotives are confined to commercial vehicles.
The global auto industry offended the research findings. They were of the opinion that threat from fumes has decreased to a great degree with technological advancements, use of ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel, advanced pistons and emissions control systems.
WHO has urged people around the globe to reduce exposure to diesel fumes as much as possible.