One of the driving factors to reduce diesel emissions was the connection between diesel emissions and cancer. According to EPA, diesel exhaust is classified as “Potential Occupational Carcinogen.”
The initial emission changes happened in 2004, then were tightened in 2007 and finally came to the current levels in 2010. These emissions requirements have caused vehicles to be equipped with a host of equipment that has not only added a tremendous amount to the cost of the vehicle (originally estimated to be about $5,000 ended up at almost $21,000 for trucks), but reduced their fuel efficiency as well.
The question is how much tighter are they going to make the regulations? A new study released from The Health Effects Institute reveals that as the 2007 levels, there is no direct connection between lung cancer and diesel exhaust.
The study exposed lab rats to emissions from a heavy duty diesel engine meeting the 2007 emissions levels. The rats were exposed for 16 hours a day, 5 days a week for 30 months (2.5 years).
In their commentary on the study the review panel concluded, “Overall, these results indicate that rats exposed to one of three levels of NTDE (New Technology Diesel Emissions) from a 2007- compliant engine for up to 30 months, for 16 hours per day, 5 days a week, with use of a strenuous operating cycle that more accurately reflected the real-world operation of a modern engine than cycles used in previous studies, showed few NTDE-exposure-related biologic effects. In contrast to the findings in rats chronically exposed to TDE, there was no induction of tumors or pre-neoplastic changes in the lung and no increase in tumors that were considered to be related to NTDE in any other tissue. The effects that were observed with NTDE were limited to the respiratory tract and were mild and generally seen at only the highest exposure level. These histologic changes in the lungs were consistent with previous findings in rats after long-term exposure to NO2 — a major component of the exposure atmosphere which is being substantially further reduced in 2010-compliant engines.”
If you are interested in finding out more, click here. We hope that as studies like this continue to be conducted and similar results found, that emission levels will stay at the levels they are now (no chance in them being turned back to 2007 levels).