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According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), diesel exhaust is a pervasive airborne contaminant in workplaces where diesel-powered equipment is used. The use of diesel equipment is expanding, in fact, more than one million workers are exposed to diesel exhaust and face the risk of adverse health effects, ranging from headaches and nausea to cancer and respiratory disease. Such workers include firefighters, mine workers, bridge and tunnel workers, loading dock workers, truck drivers, material handling machine operators, and auto, truck and bus maintenance garage workers.

There are currently no standards for diesel exhaust as a unique hazard. However, exposures to various chemical components of diesel exhaust are addressed in specific standards for the general industry and shipyard employment.

Health Effects of Diesel Exhaust

  • Workers exposed to diesel exhaust face the risk of adverse health effects ranging from headaches and nausea to cancer and respiratory disease. (OSHA)
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed classifying diesel exhaust as a probable human carcinogen.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that diesel engine exhaust probably causes cancer in humans.
  • There is also a link between emissions from diesel-fueled engines and non-cancer damage to the lung.
  • Many studies indicate that breathing vehicle exhaust fumes inside a firehouse can cause or contribute to serious illnesses (e.g., emphysema, cancer, heart attack and stroke) and even death for the fire fighters who work, and many times, eat and sleep in the facility. (Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation)
  • Exhaust residue adheres to walls and other surfaces and becomes embedded in clothing, furniture, etc., where it can be absorbed through the skin. (Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation)
  • More than 40 substances emitted in diesel exhaust are listed as hazardous air pollutants.
  • The number one cause of increased carbon monoxide in the general environment is vehicle exhaust, which contains on average 2/3 of a pound of CO for every mile a car travels. (Department of Occupational Health & Safety)

Why are emissions from diesel-fueled engines of concern to the public?

  • Emissions from diesel-fueled engines are mainly composed of particulate matter and gases, which contain potential cancer-causing substances such as arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, nickel, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Emissions from diesel-fueled engines currently include over 40 substances that are listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as hazardous air pollutants.
  • Particulate matter from diesel-fueled engine emissions is small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs.
Find a partial list of chemicals associated with diesel exhaust at www.osha.gov


Before and After Photo

The AirMATION® Industrial Air Cleaner controls diesel fumes and soot, airborne particulates, smoke odors, noxious gases, VOCs, welding smoke, carbon monoxide (CO), lung damaging dust, oil mist, and metal grindings. AirMATION is a multi-stage progressive air filtration system designed to clean the air and protect employee health. It comes with a two-year warranty.

In air monitoring tests conducted by independent agencies, AirMATION has demonstrated that it cleans the air resulting in containment levels far below OSHA and NIOSH recommended levels.

TTI Independent Environmental Study

Toronto Test Results

Sources: OSHA, NIOSH, Department of Labor, EPA, Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation

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