Railroad Workers at Higher Risk for Lung Cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Other Lung Ailments

An analysis of scientific studies performed by a scientific review panel revealed a correlation between asthma, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, with exposure to diesel exhaust fumes while on the job.

The panel cited more than 30 studies that showed long-term occupational exposure to diesel exhaust fumes was associated with a 40 percent increase in the relative risk of lung cancer. The lung cancer findings are consistent and strongly suggest a causal relationship between occupational diesel exhaust exposure and lung cancer.

In addition to the lung cancer risk, railroad workers -- including workers of Virginia-based Norfolk Southern -- hired after the introduction of diesel locomotives had a 2.5 percent increase in COPD mortality risk for every extra year of work in a diesel-exposed job, according to the study. The results also factored in the effects smoking and still detected a link between COPD and occupational diesel exhaust fumes found most prevalently in the railroad industry.

Here's a video discussing the link between occupational exposure to diesel exhaust fumes and various lung ailments such as COPD.

Our firm, which only handles injury law, has experience representing railroad workers hurt on the job and with FELA cases so this issue is of extreme importance to us. The dedicated railroad workers throughout Virginia (VA) and other states deserve a safe work environment, and that includes an environment devoid of harmful fumes which could lead to lung cancer and other ailments.

In addition to a higher risk for COPD and lung cancer, exposure to such fumes could potentially be connected to a high level of occupational asthma. Currently, occupational asthma is the most common work-related respiratory disorder in the United States and other countries, contributing to almost 15 percent of all adult asthma diagnoses.

The numerous connections between diesel exhaust fumes and lung-related ailments can probably be attributed to the high toxicity levels in diesel exhaust fumes. They include over 40 substances that are listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous air pollutants. Fifteen of the substances found in the fumes are listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as carcinogenic (i.e., cancer-causing) to people. 





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