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Researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified diesel exhaust gases from cars and machines as carcinogenic. "The scientific evidence is convincing," said Christopher Portier, head of such a study at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, which is part of the WHO. The automotive industry, however, vehemently contradicts the researchers and criticizes that the investigation can be traced back to the emission values of old diesel engines without filter systems.
Diesel emissions are said to cause lung cancer and possibly bladder cancer WHO researchers have come to the same conclusion, unanimously, that diesel emissions cause lung cancer in humans, Portier said in a statement from the IARC. The research results were presented by an international research team in Lyon after a seven-day discussion phase. In addition to the scientific evidence for the development of lung cancer, there is also suspicion that diesel emissions are related to bladder cancer.
However, the risk of getting cancer from inhaling the exhaust gases is relatively low. The researchers emphasized that it rather affected people who were regularly or regularly exposed to diesel emissions. They can be assumed to have a direct connection to lung cancer, the researchers said. In the statement of July 12, they wrote: "Today, the International Agency for Cancer Research has classified diesel exhaust gases as carcinogenic for people." Based on the frightening study results, the scientists are demanding: "Worldwide, people's contact with this mixture of chemicals must be reduced." Currently, however, "large sections of the population are exposed to diesel exhaust gases in everyday life, be it through their job or the ambient air". The "Süddeutsche Zeitung" reported that according to estimates by IARC chief Kurt Straif, the risk among professional drivers is similar to that of passive smokers. Passers-by on the street have a lower risk. Nevertheless, the researchers advise further investigations.
Automotive industry contradicts researchers The Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) disagrees with the researchers' statements and criticizes that only outdated engines were used for the investigation. "These engines, which are over eight years old, in no way represent the advanced diesel technology available on the market today," says the VDA. The association argues with the Euro 6 pollutant class, which is mandatory from 2014, according to which vehicles should emit 98 percent fewer particles, carbon monoxide and volatile hydrocarbons than before the introduction of the exhaust gas standard 20 years ago. In the case of nitrogen oxides, which are also contained in diesel exhaust gases, the decline due to the new pollutant class is at least 75 percent. "The economical and clean diesel engine is and remains an essential component of the sustainable drive and fuel strategy “, Said the association.
Environmentalists are calling for the environmental zones to be expanded
Meanwhile, environmental groups have called for environmental zones to be expanded to better protect people from the health hazards of diesel exhaust. Jens Hilgenberg from the German Federal Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation told ZDF: "Studies in Berlin have shown that environmental zones are a good means of minimizing soot in cities." In addition, politicians must begin to reduce emissions in diesel construction machines, diesel ships and diesel locomotives. (ag)