Reuters: EPA: Diesel exhaust "likely human carcinogen"

Gary Greenberg Gary.Greenberg at Duke.Edu
Tue Oct 17 11:34:36 EST 2000

US EPA advisory board calls diesel "soot" a carcinogen

USA: October 17, 2000

WASHINGTON - A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency science advisory
board has agreed with the agency's characterisation that diesel fuel
exhaust is a "likely human carcinogen," according to an EPA official

The decision by the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee comes a few
months before an expected decision by the EPA to make a final rule
drastically cutting diesel pollution.

EPA has said that diesel fuel pollutants were causing lung cancer and
asthma attacks in children, a position affirmed by the 12-member
advisory board.

"This gives more credence to the fact we need to do more (to cut
pollution)," said the EPA official, who wished to remain anonymous.

EPA Administrator Carol Browner has for months said the agency would
issue diesel regulations before year's end.

Tough new restrictions on tailpipe emissions for passenger vehicles were
issued along a similar timetable in December of last year.

In May, EPA preliminarily proposed a 97-percent cut in the amount of
sulphur in diesel fuel burned by large 18-wheeler trucks and buses.
EPA's plan mandated the cleaner diesel fuel and engines starting in

Clean air activists applauded the move by the science advisors, saying
the decision ended a decade long debate over the issue of how to
classify the soot from diesel, the so-called diesel particulate matter

"The decision will give EPA new impetus to set tough new standards for
big diesel trucks and buses and diesel fuel," said Frank O'Donnell,
executive director of the Clean Air Trust interest group in Washington

EPA said the current level for sulphur in diesel was 500 parts per
million, but would be reduced to 15 parts per million by June of 2006
under its pending plan.

The rules would also require new over-the-road trucks, 18-wheeled
vehicles, to start using catalytic converters and computerized pollution
controls that have been used on passenger cars for the last 25 years.

Truck manufacturers would begin making changes to their vehicles in
2007. By 2010, all new heavy-duty trucks and passenger buses would have
to meet new clean-air standards.

EPA has said diesel fuel costs would rise around 3 to 4 cents per gallon
as a result of refiners meeting the new rule, while the average $150,000
heavy truck would see a $2,000 sticker price increase. 

Gary N. Greenberg, MD MPH    Sysop / Moderator Occ-Env-Med-L MailList
gary.greenberg at duke.edu     Duke Occupat, Environ, Int & Fam Medicine
OEM-L Maillist Website:                      http://occhealthnews.com


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