Intended for healthcare professionals


Diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer, says WHO

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 14 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4174
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

Diesel engine exhaust is carcinogenic and does cause lung cancer, the World Health Organization has confirmed.

After a week long meeting to review all the published epidemiological and scientific evidence the International Agency for Research on Cancer (AIRC), part of WHO, placed diesel engine exhaust in the group 1 category of carcinogens, alongside other agents such as tobacco smoke and asbestos.

As well as concluding that there was sufficient evidence that diesel exhaust is a cause of lung cancer, the agency also said there was limited evidence that diesel increased the risk of bladder cancer.

In 1988 the agency classified diesel engine exhaust as probably carcinogenic to humans (group 2A), …

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