4 June 1999

The Health Effects Institute (HEI) published a new report entitled "Diesel Emissions and Lung Cancer: Epidemiology and Quantitative Risk Assessment". The entire report can be downloaded from the HEI web site.

The report, prepared by the Institute's Diesel Epidemiology Expert Panel, examines previously published epidemiologic studies of diesel emissions and lung cancer for possible use in support of quantitative risk assessment (QRA) related to diesel exposure (i.e., whether the data from human epidemiologic studies can be used to develop reliable estimates of the magnitude of any risk for lung cancer).

Epidemiological studies reviewed by the HEI's Panel include four railroad worker studies (incl. two studies by Garshick) and three teamster studies. In conclusion, the Panel recommended against using the current railroad worker data as the basis for QRA in ambient settings. The Panel also recommended that further scrutiny is needed on the teamster data.

Quantitative risk assessment from exposure to diesel emissions was performed by the State of California in a process that led to the identification of diesel particulate emissions as a Toxic Air Contaminant in August, 1998. The California QRA analysis was in part based on the railroad worker data, which is now deemed by the HEI as inappropriate for that purpose.

The Cambridge, MA, based HEI is a nonprofit corporation chartered in 1980 to provide independent science on the health effects of pollutants from motor vehicles and from other sources in the environment. Typically, HEI receives half of its funds from the US Environmental Protection Agency and half from 28 manufacturers and marketers of motor vehicles and engines in the US HEI has funded over 170 studies and published over 100 Research Reports, producing research findings on the health effects of such pollutants as carbon monoxide, methanol and aldehydes, nitrogen oxides, diesel exhaust, ozone, and particulate air pollution.

Source: Health Effects Institute