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Effects of diesel combustion on the health

Diesel is the most widespread fuel in our modern societies, in various activities of our daily lives. It corresponds to the light part of the combustion of fuel oil. Delivery trucks, buses which take us to work or school, equipment used in the industry or the electricity that we use on a daily basis are supplied with diesel to operate. This energy is also used for many other applications. Diesel engines have been historically more versatile and cheaper than gasoline engines or other sources of energy. Unfortunately, the exhaust of these engines contains substances that may present a risk for human health and our environment.

At the beginning of the 90ies, scientists have started to mention diesel as harmful for the environment. It was declared ‘carcinogen’ in 2012. This is why the European Community has since implemented standards to limit polluting emissions.

How are we exposed to the dangers of diesel?

As exhaust gas are released into the air, we breathe the toxic molecules and the small particles they contain. They are drawn into the lungs. Microscopic particles in diesel exhaust are less than one-fifth the thickness of a human hair and are small enough to penetrate deeply into the lungs, which can cause chronic health problems.

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