The ill effects of diesel engine exhaust to human’s health have long been established. Safe Work Australia said about 1.2 million Australian workers are exposed to diesel engine exhaust, and around 130 are diagnosed with lung cancer every year as a result of their exposure on the job. It is the second most common carcinogen workers are exposed to.
The World Health Organisation’s cancer research branch lists diesel, which has tiny carbon particles that make their way deep into the lungs in the exhaust fumes as a Group 1 carcinogen.
Short-term exposure to high levels of diesel exhaust can result in eye, nose, throat and lung irritation and even suffocation, while long-term exposure can increase the risk for heart and lung diseases, worsen allergies and increase the risk of lung cancer.
Cancer Council also warns of the dangers of diesel engine exhaust: “Diesel engine exhaust is created by burning diesel fuels. It contains a mixture of airborne chemicals that can be harmful to people. When breathed in, these chemicals can increase your risk of developing long-term health problems. This includes lung cancer and possible bladder cancer.”
Cancer Council has developed a range of resources to help in educating workers about the risk of exposure to diesel exhaust.
The toolbox includes:
- Diesel Engine Exhaust Emissions Guide
- Managers Toolbox Talk
- Workers Toolbox Talk
- Toolbox Talk Engagement Ideas
The resources have been developed in partnership with IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign (U.K).
More information is available on www.cancer.org.au/workcancer
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