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