Sacramento, California – A new report by the California Enviromental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board (ARB) shows new evidence that trucking industry workers who have had regular exposure to diesel and other types of vehicle exhaust showed an elevated risk of lung cancer with increasing years of work.
The data comes from a nationwide long-term study, Lung Cancer and Vehicle Exhaust in Trucking Industry Workers, which assessed lung cancer deaths by job type in 31,135 Teamster Union members from 1985 to 2000. ARB chairman Mary Nichols said that the study “illustrates the greater burden on those who work with diesel engines daily.”
The research shows that trucking workers with an estimated 20 years on the job had an increased risk of lung cancer. Long-haul workers, dockworkers, pickup and delivery drivers, and people who worked as both dockworkers and drivers had an increased risk when compared to trucking workers in other job categories, such as clerks and mechanics.
“We’ve known for more than a decade that exhaust from diesel trucks is dangerous,” Nichols said. “The more we study these emissions, the more dangerous it appears.”
Researchers limited their study to men older than 39, with at least one year on the job, and examined men working as clerks, mechanics, long-haul drivers, dockworkers, combination workers, and in pickup and delivery. Within the study period, there were 4,306 deaths in the study group, with 779 cases of lung cancer. The results are consistent with previous studies in Canada and the U.S. that show an increased risk of lung cancer in occupations that are likely to be associated with exposure to diesel vehicle exhaust.