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Diesel Fumes Exposure Lawsuits

Many truck drivers, train operators, train engineers and heavy equipment operators utilize engines that are fueled by diesel. When diesel burns it produces dangerous diesel fumes. One of the most common injuries to exposure to diesel fumes is lung cancer or other lung diseases.

In the truck industry it has been found that those drivers with over 20 years on a job have an increased risk of lung cancer because of diesel fumes. In 2009, the Journal of Environmental Health Prospective showed that trucking industry workers had an elevated risk of lung cancer with each year of work due to exposure to diesel fumes. The elevated risk of lung cancer was not limited to just truck drivers. In fact, it included both long haul truckers but also included delivery drivers, pickup drivers, dockworkers and individuals who worked as both dockworkers and pickup and delivery drivers.

The evidence is abundantly clear that diesel fumes play a major role in the development of cancer. The trucking industry has been slow to respond to this danger in warning truckers.

In addition to truck drivers and other vehicle drivers, diesel fumes come from other services. These include earth-moving equipment, farm equipment, diesel-powered cars, forklift trucks and large trucks. The fumes produced by burning diesel contain hundreds of different harmful chemicals. Some of these chemical contained in the diesel fumes included benzene, formaldehyde, arsenic, cyanide and lead.

Microscopically the fine particles of diesel fumes in its exhaust enter lung tissue and accumulate in the lungs and the lymph nodes. High concentrations of diesel fumes and its harmful chemicals can cause respiratory diseases, including asthma, heart disease, emphysema and chronic obstructive lung disease as well as lung cancer.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report in 2002 that reached the conclusion that over a long period of time exposure to diesel exhaust or fumes was associated with lung cancer. The EPA report stated that, “The human evidence from occupational studies is considered strongly supportive of a finding that diesel exhaust exposure is causally associated with lung cancer, though the evidence is less than that needed to definitively conclude that diesel exhaust is carcinogenic to humans. Overall, the evidence for a potential cancer hazard to humans resulting in chronic inhalation exposure [diesel emissions] is persuasive.”

Those businesses and companies that manufacture diesel engines came out shortly after the EPA report to say that the report was based on exhaust from older engines, not the current ones. However, the EPA clarified its report by stating that the conclusions it reached regarding the hazards of diesel fumes and exhaust produced and breathed by individuals in close proximity relate to diesel engines currently in use as well as older ones.

In a more recent study completed in 2009 by researchers at Harvard and U.C. Berkeley they reviewed the records of 31,135 male U.S. trucking industry workers in 1985. There were 8 categories of workers studied who were long-haul drivers, pickup and delivery drivers, dockworkers, combination workers and the truck, cab or loading dock, mechanics, hostler in a terminal yard, clerks in the terminal office and others in closely related positions.

Most of these workers were hired on average in their mid-30s and were predominantly Caucasian, lived in the South or the Midwest and worked in the trucking industry on average 22 years.

In this study, the majority of the workers were hired after long-haul trucks changed from gasoline to diesel fuel during the 1950s and 1960s. Diesel forklifts were also used by dockworkers on some loading docks during the 1980s before the fuel used in most forklifts were changed to gasoline.

In this study it was found that between 1985 and 2000 there were counted 4,306 deaths and 779 cases of lung cancer. The category workers most impacted by diesel fumes were long-haul drivers, pickup and delivery drivers, dockworkers and combination workers.

With these reports and scientific studies, it is evident that long-term exposure to diesel fumes and exhaust increases the risk of lung cancer.

If you or someone you love has worked in the trucking industry and has been regularly and frequently exposed to diesel fumes and exhaust and have been diagnosed with lung cancer or other lung diseases, please call us for an immediate free consultation.

Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling lawsuits dealing with diesel fumes and diesel exhaust for more than 40 years.

Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients and have achieved unsurpassed results. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. There is no charge for a consultation that will include an evaluation of your case.

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