Some 804,000 Canadian workers face exposure to diesel exhaust fumes at work each year. Now, the Toronto-based Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC) has echoed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) warning that the fumes are linked to cancer.
After a week-long June meeting, WHO experts with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassified diesel exhaust fumes after research showed exposure led to increased rates of lung and bladder cancer.
“The decision to reclassify diesel engine exhaust from a probable human carcinogen (Group 2A) to a definite human carcinogen (Group 1) is the result of compelling scientific evidence, according to a panel of scientific experts convened by IARC,” the WHSC said in a statement to media on September 27, 2012.
According to Carex Canada, an agency that monitors carcinogens, about 303,000 truck drivers, 78,000 bus drivers and 77,000 heavy machine operators are exposed each year. Other affected groups include couriers, landscaping labourers, taxi drivers and auto repair workers.
Repeated exposure to diesel exhaust particles can also cause chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.