The Health Effects Institute (HEI) on Tuesday released the results of a scientific study that examined the health effects of emissions from new-technology diesel engines in commercial trucks and found no evidence of carcinogenic lung tumors or pre-cancerous changes in lung tissue after laboratory animals were exposed to diesel engine exhaust over their lifetimes.
The multi-year study, known as the Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study or ACES, concluded that exposure to diesel exhaust from new-technology diesel engines did not cause any increase in the risk of lung cancer or other significant adverse health effects in the study animals.
“The significance of this study and its conclusions cannot be overstated,” said Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “The results of this new study verify the environmental benefits of the new clean diesel technology, which have near-zero emissions for nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons (HC) and particulate matter (PM).
“And while this study focused on heavy-duty truck emissions, the new clean diesel technology has the potential for impacting all sectors, including passenger cars, agriculture, construction, maritime and transportation.
“The findings of the ACES study are extremely important because diesel engines are the technology of choice that drives 15 sectors of the global economy ― from agriculture to goods movement, from construction to warehousing,” Schaeffer said.
“Today, more than one-third of all commercial trucks on the road are powered with 2007 generation or newer engines which have reduced particulate matter and NOx emissions by 98 percent compared to 1988 vehicles. In some states, the percentage of new technology diesel engine-equipped trucks exceeds 50 percent,” Schaeffer said.
“This means that the clean air benefits from these clean diesel engines are being experienced in communities throughout the country.”
The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) is the trade association representing worldwide manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. EMA works with government and industry to help the nation achieve its goals of cleaner fuels, more efficient engines, cleaner air, and improved safety.
“HEI’s ACES study confirms that new-technology diesel engines do not increase the risk of lung cancer, and that today’s diesel engines have reduced real-world emissions to near-zero levels,” said Jed Mandel, EMA president. “ACES provides the rigorous evidence needed to assure policy makers and the public that new diesel emissions control technologies are achieving their intended results.”
Earlier phases of the study confirmed that the emissions from new-technology diesel engines are not only at levels well-below those required by U.S. EPA standards, but also contain near-zero levels of the components of diesel exhaust that were thought to be harmful, such as particulate matter and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). The advanced technologies that were used in the ACES test engines have been installed in on-highway trucks and buses since 2007.
“EMA and its members have worked with the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board to chart a new path forward and to develop and implement new, advanced technologies that reduce emissions, thereby improving air quality and public health,” said Mandel. “The HEI study provides the sound, science-based data necessary to conclude that today’s diesel engines do not contribute to an increased risk of cancer.”
Given the comprehensive approach used in the ACES study, its independent peer review, and HEI’s reputation for integrity and sound science, EMA expects the ACES study results to play a central and significant role in any future evaluation of diesel technology health effects by regulatory agencies worldwide.