TransGas Development Systems to Build $3B CTL Plant in West Virginia; 6.5M Barrels of Gasoline Per Year
Sweden Starts Up Largest Grain Bioethanol Plant in Northern Europe

Study Links Diesel Exhaust and Lung Cancer Mortality in Trucking Industry Workers

The California Air Resources Board is highlighting a recent study showing that trucking industry workers who have had regular exposure to diesel and other types of vehicle exhaust show an elevated risk of lung cancer with increasing years of work.

ARB staff will present the study at the Air Resources Board meeting 11-12 December during which the Board will vote on the Statewide Truck and Bus Regulation. (Earlier post.) If the regulation is passed, diesel trucker owners will be required to install diesel exhaust filters on their rigs starting in 2010, with nearly all vehicles upgraded by 2014.

“We’ve known for more than a decade that exhaust from diesel trucks is dangerous. The more we study these emissions the more dangerous it appears.”
—ARB Chairman Mary Nichols

The new research reveals 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 pickup and delivery drivers had an increased risk compared to workers in other job categories, such as clerks and mechanics.

This latest data on the cause of death in trucking industry workers comes from a nationwide long-term study, “Lung Cancer and Vehicle Exhaust in Trucking Industry Workers” by E. Garshick and colleagues, published earlier this year in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, which assesses lung cancer deaths by job type in 31,135 Teamsters Union members from 1985 to 2000.

ARB Chairman Mary Nichols says the study “illustrates the greater burden on those who work with diesel engines daily.”

Researchers limited their study to men older than 39 years 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 seen in the study group with 779 cases of lung cancer. In addition, it implies that a reduction of diesel particulate matter will have health benefits for the trucking industry and the general public who live, commute, or work near diesel vehicles.

The study’s results are consistent with previous studies in the United States and Canada that show an increased risk of lung cancer in occupations which are likely to be associated with exposure to diesel vehicle exhaust.

The expected health benefit of the truck regulation under consideration at the Board meeting is 9,400 fewer premature deaths between 2010 and 2025, and greatly reduced health care cost. These benefits have a value of $48 billion to $69 billion.

Incentive funding to truck owners in the amount of $1 billion in grants and loans will be made available through programs such as Carl Moyer, Proposition 1B, and private loans through AB 118 to comply with the proposed regulations.


  • Eric Garshick, Francine Laden, Jaime E. Hart, Bernard Rosner, Mary E. Davis, Ellen A. Eisen, and Thomas J. Smith (2008) Lung Cancer and Vehicle Exhaust in Trucking Industry Workers. Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 116, Number 10 doi: 10.1289/ehp.11293



Who here thinks that truckers are likely to smoke more cigarettes than the average person?

Who here thinks that truckers are likely to smoke more cigarettes than the average person?

Shhhhhhhh!!!! This "study" has the power to allow for even MORE government control (how about that Illinois governor?!?) over people's lives. Adding truth that was left out could hinder that.


Power lines cause Leukemia
Coal workers get black lung
High velocity Alcohols fry brain cells
Office workers have a higher rate of obecity and heart desease.

Life will kill you

But ARB don't let that get in the way of your agenda.


They could always get new lungs, arteries, heart and brain every 20 years or so and keep smoking, inhaling diesel and wood stoves fumes etc.

Good citizens die young (before 62). Older people cost too much to keep alive and are responsible for higher taxes.


Soot from diesel exhausts is actually pretty horrible for everyone so a mandated soot stopper seems appropriate in any event. Why have a specific study on truckers though? Because the study was only written to back-up what they'd already decided. But the more obvious conclusion from this is that a far cheaper option is to get truckers to wear masks. The duplicity of ARB could backfire on them.


OK, so the study was about truckers, etc. who choose to work in these environments, even though it's obvious that diesel exhaust is bad for your health. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't have a better working environment anyway. AND.... this also affects everyone else, since we're all exposed to this unnecessary pollution. So I'm all for it. Also, the increased health care costs associated with diesel are passed on to the rest us, since health insurance spreads out the cost of sick people to the healthy ones.
Exhaust filters are an EASY and CHEAP (compared to all the health care costs) solution to this problem that should have been cleaned up long ago.

Scott S

"We indirectly adjusted for cigarette smoking based on an industry survey. "

Stated in the synopsis of the study. If you want to debunk a peer reviewed study, I'd suggest reading it first.


Diesels have improved about 10,000% in the last decade. ULSD of today is about 1,000 times less toxic than the LSD from 2 years ago. If your going to make huge claims, make sure your study hasn't been outdated by technology. Maybe the last generation was plagued with sooty, black smoke pumping smog machines but the new generation will not be. Today's diesels are cleaner than a gas engine from five years ago and is 30% more efficient.


Please provide the link to the data showing that a truck (as used in the "Trucking Industry" described in the study) has a diesel engine that is cleaner than a 5 year old gasoline engine. I don't know of any gasoline truck engines used by this class of vehicle so are you comparing these diesels to passenger car gasoline engines?

No doubt passenger vehicle diesels are much cleaner than before but truck based diesels do not follow the same regulations (especially with the medium and heavy duty trucks being discussed).


Yes the '5 year' statement has more to do with the passenger diesels because rigs do not use gas engines. However, Rigs benefit from ULSD as well, the new trucks are beginning to get PF and APU's so they don't have to idle. I am not saying big rigs are clean but on the green scale they are up about 30 notches. This study may be good FYI, although not anything we didn't already know, but would be bad to base today's peceptions or regulations.

Nate H.

I am very skeptical of this "Study" since most truckers I know of either smoke, or one of the following:

- Overeat and are Severely Overweight
- Don't excercise (contributing to lower lung function)
- Eat poor nutrition
- Don't inhale their trucks' exhaust directly
- Don't have overly old rigs (about 7 years)

So, taking all these variables into consideration, how could one directly blame soot for lung cancer in poor nutritioned, poor exercised individuals?

Nate H.
Dover, Ohio

Take A Deap Breath

Read the reports about diesel soot and health -- there are many of them.

There are web sites dedicated to the topic.

Trucking alone is bad but add shipping and it's even worse. The effects on people wo live near our nation;s ports is deadly.

We've know this for years. And we've been slowly working on improving this for years...
>A 2005 ARB exposure study at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach shows that more than two million people live in areas around the ports with predicted cancer risks of greater than 10 in a million due emissions from docked ocean-going vessels. From that study and other data, ARB estimates that about 61 premature deaths per year can be attributed to exposure to diesel exhaust generated from ships in port.

stas peterson

if there were any validity to such a thesis, it would be evident in epistemological studies in Europe where diesels predominate. And NO there are NO sophisticated diesel anti-emissions requirements there, in uber Greenie land.

That's why diesels y are cheaper along with tax preferences, and the majority of vehicles both cars and trucks, are diesels with all the smoke soot, and carcinogens.

If European studies don't show this correlation, then it is a purely arbitrary concocted study to arrive at a predetermined conclusion. Like the "second hand smoke" studies to reinforce a predetermined opinion. Its just so much junk-science, but libs and greenies have been cooking up junk-science studies for a long time, ever since Rachel Carson.

They succeed because most Libs don't have any scientific educations, or logical thinking backgrounds as they don't teach much in their preferred "emoting" majors of basket weaving, sociology, journalism, psychology and law.


Its great having access to the insights of the contrarians, who know more about every subject on the planet than those idiots that go to higher education.

Without these opposing views I'd be so ignorant and maybe one day even believe the evidence that till now only convinces those gullible " goody goody smarty lot."

Indeed why not just pay some of the contrarians to come up with the answers for us. Heck I intend to donate my brain to this new group so they can do all my thinking for me. Then I wouldn't have those uncomfortable doubts.

When there were no longer any issues of merit in the world we could get on with really important things like oh proving everyone wrong, well why should we need to prove it? Hang on then we'd be out of a job.

Marcel F. Williams

Replacing diesel fuel with dimethyl ether might significantly reduce the deleterious effects of soot from diesel engines. Dimethyl ether can be derived from the dehydration of methanol. And methanol, of course, is a potentially renewable fuel that can be produced from biomass or via water electrolysis combined with carbon dioxide extraction from air.


My next door neighbor drives diesel, and every time he starts his truck, I get sick.

The windows stay closed. The house is black from the air pollution created on that side of the house.

Diesel is Dirty!

fred ice cold diesel will put out some smoke with the lameass low cetane diesel fuel we put up with in this country. Now look around your abode and realize EVERY single thing in there got there because of a diesel!!!

Nate H.


I think you are exaggerating quite a bit. A black side of the house? Sick EVERY time he starts it? And this is on CARB ULSD in Cali, right? Hmmm... And if it were a cold engine it would make "white" smoke. Not black, like when overfueled.

Lets not go too far into trying to make a point.

Nate H.
Dover, Ohio


Transporting goods on electrified train lines + electric tractors at each end, could put an end to most of these dirty diesel trucks on our highways, roads and streets.

What an ideal anti-recession multi $$$ B project.

All ex Big-3 workers could be re-cycled and/or re-trained to participate in changing the way we transport goods instead of building more dinosaur gas guzzlers.

We are due for a progressive technical revolution including clean e-energy production and distribution.


Obviously vehicle emissions are hazardous to the health of any living organism especially those aerobes like ourselves that stay nearby. If vehicle emissions were not hazardous they wouldn't write death by smoke inhalation in closed garages into murder mysteries. The blessing is that the toxicity of air pollutants goes way down as it is diluted over a vast expanse. Water quality on the other hand can in fact accumulate thus is more of a social concern to most consumers. Air quality however should be a higher priority for voters and their elected officials alike. The simple reason as this study implies is that the negative effects over the long term are absolutely deadly and by no means pain free or inexpensive. Every time we intake polluted air into our lungs a bit of the toxics remain. After so many breathes the accumulated toxics may cause a number of health effects including cell mutations that lead to certain cancers. IF anyone wants to still argue the need to reduce emission control type requirements I suggest they take a walk without a face mask along one of the congested highways near them and try to go five minutes without having to cough or gag. Several South East Asian countries have conducted research studies where actual individuals that died hard their lungs disected where particulate matter was not only visible without a microscope but obviously caused great pain for the individual to even breathe up to their death. Emissions control is not as much an environmental issue as it is a health concern. Several studies have concluded that near major emission sources the incident of asthma in children's developing lungs is drastically increased not to mention the extra strain placed on those who are elderly. Even at fifty years of age the increased amount of certain emission toxics can have a drastic effect of the performance and lung capacity of individuals making it harder to overcome inborn illness or even fight the flu.

Diesels are known for having higher particulates than gasolene cars which contribute more towards ozone gasses. Keeping this in mind most state and federal agencies are pushed to regulate deisels maybe more than necessary because they "look" like they emit worse than other vehicles. Honestly I'd rather see truckers on the road any day doing what they are doing and more regulation on individual vehicle motorists. The vast majority of big rigs are regularly maintained and inspected which does help limit the amount of pollution created. The same can hardly be said for most private car owners.

Ideally every driver would maintain their vehicle and do more than the minimum inspection to limit the impact their vehicle has on the environment and their own health. Unfortunately life is not ideal and the role of government is to step in on such cases and create regulations forcing responsiblity onto the public and private sectors of industry.

The comments to this entry are closed.