CARB survey shows elevated cancer risk in Teamsters

A survey of 31,135 men who were members of the Teamsters Union indicated that trucking industry workers showed an elevated risk of lung cancer with increasing years of work, according to information from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

CARB will be considering requiring diesel trucker to install diesel exhaust filters on their rigs starting in 2010, with nearly all vehicles upgraded by 2014. The group also is considering incentive funding to truck owners in the amount of $1 billion in grants and loans.

According to the CARB information, trucking industry workers who had had regular exposure to diesel and other types of vehicle exhaust showed an elevated risk with an estimated 20 years on the job. Long haul workers, dockworkers, pickup and delivery drivers, and people who worked as both dockworkers and pickup and delivery drivers had an increased risk compared to workers in other job categories.

Researchers limited their study to men older than 39 years with at least one year on the job, and examined men working as clerks, mechanics, long-haul drivers, dockworkers, combination workers, and in pickup and delivery, according to the CARB information.

According to information posted on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Web site, work records were obtained for the men in 1985. The group conducting the survey assessed lung cancer mortality through 2000 using the National Death Index, and used an industrial hygiene review and current exposure measurements to identify jobs associated with current and historical use of diesel-, gas-, and propane-powered vehicles. They indirectly adjusted for cigarette smoking based on an industry survey.

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