The risks of diesel fumes

The risks of diesel fumes

POSTED: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 6:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 6:04pm

William Allred has worked as a diesel truck driver for more than twenty years. He's not surprised that the World Health Organization finally said that diesel fumes can cause cancer and are as dangerous as secondhand smoke. He's afraid that with all the miles he's logged and the fumes he's inhaled, he's at risk.

"I imagine I'm gonna have some breathing problems from being around dust and trucks and chemicals," says Allred.

But not everyone who's exposed to diesel fuel feels the same way. Take mechanic Mark Smith. He's also been doing his job for more than a couple of decades. He doesn't think being around the fumes puts him at any greater risk for health problems than you or me.

"I'm 43 and I've been around it since childhood, working on my grandfather's farm and what I do for a living. And as far as I know I've always been healthy," says Smith.

And he has some advice for people, like Allred, who drive diesel-powered vehicles to get where they need to go.

"Yeah, you can limit how much is on your hands by the way you fuel it. Limit spillage and limit the amount of time your truck is idling," says Smith.

And he believes that if everyone does their part we can reduce the risk that any of us gets cancer.

"When you think about little things and you think about hundreds of thousands of people doing it, those little things become a big thing," says Smith.

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