COLUMBUS, Ohio Scientists here are the first to demonstrate that the link between diesel fume exposure and cancer lies in the ability of diesel exhaust to induce the growth of new blood vessels that serve as a food supply for solid tumors.
The researchers found that in both healthy and diseased animals, more new blood vessels sprouted in mice exposed to diesel exhaust than did in mice exposed to clean, filtered air. This suggests that previous illness isn't required to make humans susceptible to the damaging effects of the diesel exhaust.
The tiny size of inhaled diesel particles, most less than 0.1 microns in diameter, potentially enables them to penetrate the human circulatory system, organs and tissues, meaning they can do this damage just about anywhere in the body. A micron is one millionth of a meter.
Diesel exhaust exposure levels in the study were designed to mimic the exposure people might experience while living in urban areas and commuting in heavy traffic. The levels were lower than or similar to those typically experienced by workers who use diesel-powered equipment, who tend to work in mines, on bridges and tunnels, along railroads, at loading docks, on farms and in vehicle maintenance garages, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
"The message from our study is that exposure to diesel exhaust for just a short time period of two months could give even normal tissue the potential to develop a tumor," said Qinghua Sun, senior author of the study and an assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Ohio State University.
"We need to raise public awareness so people give more thought to how they drive and how they live so they can pursue ways to protect themselves and improve their health. And we still have a lot of work to do to improve diesel engines so they generate fewer particles and exhaust that can be released into the ambient air."
The research appears online and is sched
|Contact: Qinghua Sun|
Ohio State University