Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Diesel exhaust causes lung cancer: WHO report

If the WHO said it, it is probably wrong.  They should be renamed the "Health Fashion Organization". 

And their methodology supports that conclusion.  Their "findings" are not  the product of a proper peer-reviewed meta-analysis.  Their findings are  the conclusions of   an 8-day "working group".  How can they expect us to take them seriously?

And I know a lot of the studies they will have been looking at  -- mostly epidemiological rubbish or studies of badly abused rodents

Exhaust from diesel engines causes lung cancer, a World Health Organisation agency said for the first time, citing a review of studies.

Diesel exhaust also was linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, based in Lyon, France, said in a statement today. The group published the findings after a review over eight days by a panel of scientists. An earlier review, in 1988, classified diesel engine exhaust as "probably carcinogenic."

The finding is alarming for Australia, as sales of diesel-powered vehicle have more than doubled – from 110,608 to 266,886 – between 2005 and 2011. That figures doesn't include heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses, which are almost exclusively powered by diesel.

The agency isn't providing guidelines on what level of exposure is carcinogenic, leaving it up to national and international regulatory authorities to weigh its conclusion, Christopher Wild, director of the agency, told reporters today on a conference call.

"The scientific evidence was compelling and the working group's conclusion was unanimous: Diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans," Christopher Portier, chairman of the IARC working group, said in the statement. "Given the additional health impacts from diesel particulates, exposure to this mixture of chemicals should be reduced worldwide."

The review of older studies may not take into account advances in diesel technology over the last decade, Steve Hansen, a spokesman for the Diesel Technology Forum in Washington, said in an e-mailed statement. The group represents global diesel engine manufacturers, automakers and oil refiners. Members include Deere, Ford Motor and BP.

Lower emissions

Nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy-duty trucks and buses have been reduced by 99 percent and particulate emissions by 98 percent over the past 10 years, Hansen said.

Australia's Green Vehicle Guide, which lists new cars according to their environmental and emissions performance, marks down diesel vehicles for their particulate emissions.

The site says:

"While diesel vehicles perform comparatively well on fuel consumption and produce lower levels of greenhouse emissions, their contribution to air pollution is generally higher than that of comparative petrol or LPG vehicles. Of most concern are particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions which can cause a range of adverse health effects. These emissions are generally higher in diesel vehicles compared to petrol or gas vehicles."

The site acknowledges that vehicles fitted with particulate filters perform better.

"Diesel vehicles meeting the new Euro 5 standards have much lower PM emissions than vehicles built to current standards."

While the amount of particulates and chemicals are reduced with particulate filters, it is not yet clear how they may translate into health effects, the IARC said. "Research into this question is needed."

The IARC had been planning since 1998 to re-evaluate the cancer-causing potential of diesel fumes. The concern was re- emphasised by the publication in March of results from a US National Cancer Institute study that found exposure to diesel fumes increased risk of death from lung cancer in miners, the agency said.

By classifying cancer risks, the IARC provides scientific advice to governments. The agency lists substances as carcinogenic, probably carcinogenic, possibly carcinogenic, not classifiable and probably not carcinogenic.


ABOUT FACE!  Older fathers now said to be GOOD for their children's health

CHILDREN born to older fathers inherit a change in their DNA that could mean they live longer and healthier lives, according to research.

When both the father and paternal grandfather are older when they have children, the DNA linked to longevity and protection against diseases including cancer is even more pronounced, the study of 1779 young adults found. US researchers from Northwestern University and Washington University investigated what effect older fathers had on their children's telomeres.

Telomeres are "caps" found at the end of strands of chromosomes. They have been likened to the plastic tips on shoelaces because they stop DNA strands unravelling and cells degrading with age.

Researchers tested the blood of males and females in their early 20s in the Philippines and found those with older fathers - who had children from their late 30s to early 50s - had longer telomeres.

"In most cells, telomeres shorten with age. But in sperm, telomeres lengthen with age," lead researcher Dan Eisenberg, from Northwestern University's Department of Anthropology, said.  "Men who reproduce at an older age father children with longer telomeres compared with men who reproduce at a younger age.

"An individual's telomere length increased not only with their father's age at their birth, but also further increased with their paternal grandfather's age at their father's birth.

"This suggests delayed paternal reproduction can lead to cumulative, multi-generational increases in telomere length in descendants, which could promote longevity."

The study said the telomeres lengthened whether the father and children were rich or poor, overweight or fit.

Australian men are becoming fathers later in life, with the median age of fathers increasing from 31 to 34 between 1990 and 2010, and more men are becoming fathers in their late 50s and early 60s.

In 2010, 777 men aged 55 to 59 fathered a child, up from 674 in 2004 and 516 in 2000. The number of men in their 60s having babies has also increased from 226 in 2000 to 408 in 2010.

Previous studies have linked older fathers with increased chances of having children with health problems, with a recent US study of 132,000 men finding children of those over 45 were nearly six times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder.

Another US study showed men over 50 had a 15 per cent higher chance of having a baby with birth defects.


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