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Diesel Fumes and Lung Cancer

Diesel Fumes Exposure Injury Lawsuits

Diesel Fumes Lung Cancer | Lawsuits, Lawyer | Exposure: Lung Cancer, Cancer, Injury | Trucking, Diesel Toxins

The lawyers / attorneys at our firm are offering Free Consultations to anyone who worked in the trucking industry and developed lung cancer as a result of exposure to diesel fumes.  Lung cancer is a devastating disease, which eventually proves fatal to most victims.  In most cases, this horrific cancer is the result of exposure to an environmental toxin.  While many cases of lung cancer are attributable to tobacco smoking, thousands of cases are diagnosed in non-smokers every year.  Our diesel fume lung cancer lawyers believe that exposure to diesel toxins is often the cause of this disease when it occurs in trucking industry employees.

A recent study has found that workers in the trucking industry with an estimated 20 years on the job have an increased risk of lung cancer.   According to the research, which was published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, individuals in the trucking industry have an elevated risk of lung cancer with each increasing year of work due to their diesel fume exposure. The elevated lung cancer risk seen in the study included not only long haul  truckers, but extended to dockworkers, pickup and delivery drivers, and people who worked as both dockworkers and pickup and delivery. 

The evidence that diesel fumes play a role in the development of lung cancer is growing rapidly.  Yet the trucking industry has responded slowly to this danger.  If you or someone you love were employed by the trucking industry and were diagnosed with lung cancer, you may be entitled to compensation.  Please contact one of our diesel fume lung cancer lawyers right away to protect your legal rights.

Diesel Fumes and Lung Cancer

Diesel fumes come from a wide variety of sources, including large trucks, earth-moving equipment, farm machinery, and diesel-powered cars. In the last decade, scientists have linked diesel exhaust to higher rates of lung cancer in workers in construction, trucking and railroads.  Diesel fumes consist of a toxic stew of about 400 chemicals, including benzene, formaldehyde, arsenic, cyanide and lead.

The fine particles in  diesel exhaust can enter lung tissue, where they can accumulate in the lungs and lymph nodes. High concentrations can cause respiratory diseases, and people with asthma, heart disease and emphysema can worsen if exposed to the exhaust. Long-term exposure leads to chronic obstructive lung disease as well as lung cancer.

 In 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report that concluded that long-term exposure to diesel exhaust in the air was associated with lung cancer.

"The human evidence from occupational studies is considered strongly supportive of a finding that DE (diesel exhausts) exposure is causally associated with lung cancer, though the evidence is less than that needed to definitively conclude that DE is carcinogenic to humans," the EPA report said. "Overall, the evidence for a potential cancer hazard to humans resulting from chronic inhalation exposure to [diesel emissions] is persuasive."

At the time the EPA report was issued, diesel engine manufacturers issued a statement saying it was based on exhaust from older engines and that those currently manufactured didn't pollute as badly. But a clarifying statement from the EPA said its conclusions "are applicable to engines currently in use, which include many older engines."

Trucking Industry Lung Cancer Study

The 2009 Environmental Health Perspectives study was one of the first to effectively measure the dangers of work-related diesel exposure. Prior to 2009, previous studies specifically implicating diesel exhaust as a carcinogen were limited due to a lack of exposure measurements and work records relating job title to exposure-related job duties.

For their study, researchers at Harvard and UC Berkeley collected work records for 31,135 male workers employed in the unionized U.S. trucking industry in 1985.  They examined lung cancer mortality through 2000 for jobs associated with current and historical use of diesel-, gas- and propane-powered vehicles using the National Death Index.  The eight categories of workers studied were long-haul driver, pickup and delivery drivers, dockworker, combination worker in the truck cab or loading dock, mechanic, hostler in a terminal yard, clerks in a terminal office, and other jobs.

On average, the workers studied were hired in their mid-30s and were predominantly Caucasian, lived in the South or Midwest, and worked in the trucking industry for an average of 22 years. Most of the workers in the study were employed at four large companies, which weren't named .

The majority of workers in the study were hired after long-haul trucks changed from gas to diesel during the 1950s and '60s, but before or during the transition of pickup and delivery trucks from gasoline to diesel during the 1970s and '80s. Diesel forklifts were also used by dockworkers on some loading docks during the 1980s.

According to the study, there were 4,306 deaths and 779 cases of lung cancer from 1985 through 2000.  Long-haul drivers, pickup and delivery drivers, dockworkers, and combination workers all had significantly elevated hazard ratios

After making allowances for the amount of smoking typical in each job, the researchers concluded that the cancer risk for drivers working short pickup and delivery runs and dockworkers rose a little over 2 percent per year, and grew faster than risks for long-haul drivers. They speculated that long-haul drivers may have spent more time in air-conditioned truck cabs, and as such more isolated from fumes.

“Our results suggest that lung cancer mortality in workers with a previous history of regular exposures to particulate from diesel exhaust and other mobile sources is elevated and increases with increasing exposure duration,” the report said. “The increase in lung cancer risk suggests a contribution from diesel exhaust and a mix of vehicle emissions from other sources because each group of workers had different patterns of current and historical exposures. These results along with previous studies support current efforts to reduce emissions from both diesel vehicles and other sources of vehicle and traffic-related emissions."

Legal Help for Victims of Diesel Fume Lung Cancer

If you or someone you love worked in the trucking industry and were regularly exposed to diesel fumes, and have been diagnosed with lung cancer, you have valuable legal rights.  Please fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to discuss your case with one of our diesel fume lung cancer lawyers today.


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