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Exposure to diesel exhaust and lung cancer

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on July 12th, 2020

Frequent exposure to diesel exhaust, which is released by internal combustion engines, can lead to the development of lung cancer over the years, as diesel exhaust is a known human carcinogen, according to multiple national and international health organizations.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths both in the country and worldwide at the moment. While the primary cause of lung cancer is tobacco smoking, the disease can also develop as a result of frequent exposure to diesel exhaust, which is released in the atmosphere by internal combustion engines. There are certain occupational groups at high risk of developing lung cancer as a consequence of prolonged exposure to diesel exhaust, such as truck drivers, heavy machinery operators and railroad workers. It is estimated that up to 5% of lung cancer cases stem from exposure to diesel exhaust. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, diesel exhaust is carcinogenic to humans, a fact which is supported by numerous renowned medical studies. The risk of developing lung cancer is 3 times higher for people who are regularly exposed to diesel exhaust than that of individuals who rarely come in contact with it. Furthermore, according to the National Toxicology Program, diesel exhaust is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen", which places people who are usually surrounded by this hazardous agent at high risk of developing lung cancer, as well as other serious diseases.

How does exposure to diesel exhaust occur?

Exposure to diesel exhaust occurs when a person inhales it on a regular basis. There are certain occupational groups who regularly breathe in diesel exhaust, which increases their risk of developing a terrible disease to a considerable extent, such as:

  • railroad workers
  • miners
  • construction workers
  • heavy machinery operators
  • dock workers
  • auto mechanics

However, truck drivers, toll booth workers, garage workers, bus drivers and farmers are also exposed to diesel exhaust to a moderate extent.

The general population is also regularly exposed to diesel exhaust in the modern world, as vehicles release diesel exhaust every time they are operating. Diesel exhaust exposure typically occurs in areas with heavy traffic, such as major highways and cities. Nevertheless, the exposure of the general population to diesel exhaust is low and thereby unlikely to result in lung cancer or another serious disease.

What disease can exposure to diesel exhaust cause?

According to a 2017 study published in the prestigious medical journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, exposure to diesel exhaust is mainly responsible for the development of lung cancer. The research was conducted on nonmetal mineral and truck drivers. Once inside the lungs, the diesel exhaust affects the cells of the lungs and causes mutations, which may, over the years, result in the occurrence of malignant tumors. It is worthy of note that it takes several years of exposure to diesel exhaust for lung cancer, as well as other diseases, to develop, as the toxic chemicals in diesel exhaust gradually produce damage to the tissue of the organs. The cumulative elemental carbon in diesel exhaust is the main chemical which is responsible for the development of lung cancer.

Other diseases people who were regularly exposed to diesel exhaust may come to struggle with in addition to lung cancer include:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • esophageal cancer
  • bladder cancer
  • laryngeal cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • leukemia
  • lymphoma
  • pancreatic cancer
  • asthma

It is important to know that if you developed a disease as a result of exposure to diesel exhaust, you may be eligible for compensation, as this is a toxic exposure case. Whether you came in contact with diesel exhaust at the workplace or from the environment by living in close proximity to a site in which diesel exhaust was regularly released, you may qualify for compensation from the liable company. A lawyer whose primary area of practice is toxic exposure will be able to thoroughly evaluate your situation and tell you if you have a case. Because toxic exposure cases are very complex, the legal assistance of a lawyer who specializes in this area of practice is absolutely necessary. If they find you eligible for compensation, they will promptly file a lawsuit against the responsible company to help you recover the money you are entitled to for your physical and emotional suffering.

We provide quality legal assistance to the victims of toxic exposure

In the regrettable event that you developed lung cancer as a consequence of exposure to diesel exhaust, you may qualify for compensation. By taking legal action, not only will you recover the money you deserve for your disease, but you will also hold the responsible companies liable for their negligent actions. For instance, if you were surrounded by diesel exhaust on a daily basis, yet you were not provided with protective equipment, you may have a case.

For a prompt case review, please contact our attorneys, who specialize in toxic exposure cases, immediately. They will thoroughly answer your questions and address your concerns. If you have a case, they will file a lawsuit against the companies responsible for your exposure to obtain the maximum compensation for you.

The compensation will also help you afford better healthcare and treatment. Although the legal process is very complex, your involvement will be minimal, as you will only have to provide your attorney with your employment and medical records, which will be used as evidence to support your lawsuit. With over 25 years of experience in helping the victims of toxic exposure and their family members, our law firm will gladly offer you the legal assistance and representation you need.