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After Legal Fight, NCI Researchers Publish Study Linking Diesel Exhaust, Cancer 196

Posted by timothy
from the the-truth-will-out dept.
ananyo writes "A landmark study involving U.S. miners that links cancer rates to diesel fume exposure has been published after a seventeen-year legal battle with an industry group. A February 27 Slashdot story had reported that lawyers for the mining industry had sent threatening letters to scientific journals advising them against publishing the study. Initiated in 1998, after the first of many legal delays, the study analyzed exposures in detail for more than 12,000 workers while controlling for smoking and other risk factors. In the end, the scientists found that miners faced a threefold risk of lethal lung cancer, and underground workers who were heavily exposed to diesel fumes faced a fivefold risk. The two concluding papers from the study are available in full."
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After Legal Fight, NCI Researchers Publish Study Linking Diesel Exhaust, Cancer

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  • Emissions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rullywowr (1831632) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @08:59AM (#39260333)
    I always wondered why many states require passenger cars to pass through strict emissions tests, however it is perfectly OK to have trains, dump trucks, buses, and large vehicles spew columns of dark black diesel exhaust into the sky....

    oh yeah...FIRST!
  • Sue the lawyers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kirthn (64001) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:00AM (#39260337)

    Sue the lawyers and Industrie group frorn endangering , and having knowledge of potetial dangerous effects...and delaying that for decades...how many more victims were added because of their frivolous behaviour

  • Oh look... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:01AM (#39260349)

    The American legal system again. Where lawsuits let people die while feeding corps and trolls. Way to go "America"...

  • How... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:02AM (#39260355)

    How could those lawyers live with themselves? What rationalizing did they have to twist their minds with to keep the pretense of humanity?

  • Re:How... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:04AM (#39260377)

    I believe their rationalization is "screw the rules, I have money".

  • Re:How... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:12AM (#39260439)

    "I'm just doing my job" is the standard rationalization.

  • Re:How... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dougisfunny (1200171) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:12AM (#39260447)

    I think you're overestimating humanity.

  • Re:How... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:15AM (#39260473) Journal
    "Everyone's got a mortgage to pay. [inner monologue] The Yuppie Nuremberg defense."

    If you like the lawyers, you'll love the twisted mentats who establish and staff what is politely referred to as 'Product Defense Industry'. This curious little world delivers opposing evidence, scientific controversy, 'independent' toxicology/epidemiology, and whatever else might be needed to support your lawyers in their battle against whoever is accusing your benevolent product of causing cancer in orphans or whatever...

    If ever the body of scientific evidence turns against you, these brave mercenaries of the laboratory can deliver enough doubt to buy years, potentially decades, of further freedom to operate!
  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:15AM (#39260481)
    We don't know what the actual causative factors are, but one thing is clear: complete combustion to carbon dioxide and water should not present a risk. Plant oils produce just as much in the way of soot and hydrocarbons as petroleum-derived oil. Overheating of vegetable oil, in fact, results in the production of known carcinogens.

    It is partly for this reason that I've switched from Diesel back to gasoline for car power - I am not convinced that the Diesel industry has cracked all its problems with emissions.

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:16AM (#39260489) Homepage

    I hope this won't be used to fuel the hysteria against diesel.

    For some reason, tree-huggers driving huge waste-emitting SUVs (so they can drive to the forest to hug those trees) seem to think diesel is the Devil's fume.

    A properly tuned modern diesel engine is sort of six of one, half a dozen of the other vs. gasoline. Some emissions are better, some worse. The Euro Standards have done a lot to reduce them.

    And if you're riding a bicycle, you might have some standing. But please don't preach about diesel sitting in your gasoline-guzzler.

    p.s. Since diesel engines are built (and have to be built) tougher (to withstand higher pressures), they last longer. Which in itself is a great savings for the environment. The throwaway society (get a new car before you're done with the "old" one's payments) is not something I'm really into.

  • S.E.P. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flirno (945854) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:19AM (#39260523)

    "Somebody Else's Problem" .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somebody_Else's_Problem [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:How... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stjobe (78285) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:24AM (#39260577) Homepage

    Rationalizing is easy.
    "I deserve this".
    "It's only a job".
    "I was only following orders".
    "Everybody else does it".
    "Nobody will know".
    "Nobody will care".
    "It's not against the law".
    et cetera.

  • Re:Sue the lawyers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glop (181086) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:25AM (#39260581)

    You can't do that. At the time they were postponing publication of the research there was no published scientific research that showed the danger of exposure to Diesel exhausts.
    So basically, they were acting in good faith and just bringing healthy debate to this issue.

    Now, where's that "sarcasm mark" key already?

  • Re:Emissions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FireFury03 (653718) <`slashdot' `at' `nexusuk.org'> on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @10:23AM (#39261205) Homepage

    In the UK there's a low emissions zone around the capital that prevents the worst offenders from entering. or they have to pay, or something. Can't remember exactly but it's there!

    You pay £100 per day for vans (or van-based vehicles, so some cars count too) if they aren't quite new. It's a pretty stupid law - it doesn't get the polluting vehicles off the road, it simply pushes them outside of London. Meanwhile it encourages Londoners to buy brand new vehicles, which is arguably worse for the environment anyway.

    Then again, the government can't usually be accused of any kind of sensible thinking - in 2009 the UK government introduced a scrappage incentive to encourage people to scrap cars over 10 years old. This scheme was launched under the guise of helping the environment and the British economy. The result: lots of perfectly good cars scrapped and new ones purchased (the environmental cost of a new car far outweighs the cost of running a 10 year old car for a few more years until it really meets it's end of life). Meanwhile, since the UK car manufacturing industry is practically non-existent, this didn't really help the british economy, it simply ended up with foreign industry being subsidised by British tax money.

  • Re:Emissions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @10:50AM (#39261533)

    Industry clout. The public have no lobbies which matter.

  • Re:How... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @11:12AM (#39261811)
    And the best rationalization of all: "if I don't do it, the next guy will, anyways. So the outcome will be the same, except I'll be the loser." And it's often true. It's the main reason why the world really does need ugly things like regulations.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @01:11PM (#39263903)

    You could say that perhaps the industries with perhaps the greatest in-depth knowledge of these engines have taken the greatest precautions against long term exposure of staff.

    Or you could also say that well trained and educated people are valuable employees and are well protected, while miners are to this day still treated as disposable. Maybe I'm more bitter than you, but I think we're both right.

"Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never." -- Winston Churchill

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