Posted by: David Welch on January 9, 2008
Here we go. California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a report saying that diesel emissions cause 84% of cancer risk in Southern California. Namely, diesel exhaust coming from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach cause the biggest risk. In those areas, the study says, 2,900 people per million are at risk for cancer. More acceptable risk is 1 to 10 people per million.
Cue up the green activists saying, ‘we told you so.’ In Europe, diesel has been the rage for years, It’s often at least 25% more efficient than gasoline engines. And the new diesel engines are just about as clean. But this study will probably give diesel a black eye in the fuel efficiency debate because it’s bound to be misinterpreted. Someone at the Sierra Club once told me that diesel is a bad idea because it causes cancer. He pointed to a decades-old study that looked at locomotive workers who were exposed to diesel. If you’re talking about the sooty, belching 18-wheelers pulling out of the Port of L.A., then diesel‘s carcinogenic emissions is a real problem.
But that’s not the case with the new generation of cleaner diesel cars. Mercedes-Benz has led the way with clean diesel and Honda will have its own answer to that quandary very soon. Hopefully, these new cars will get a chance for acceptance before they are lumped in with freight trucks and labeled carcinoma cars.