Last week The World Health Organization labeled diesel exhaust a ” carcinogenic to humans (Group 1)” Basically the WHO is saying that diesel exhaust is as bad for you as arsenic. ARSENIC, really? The WHO is telling people that diesel exhaust is more harmful than second hand smoke.
The way the story has been presented is very misleading. I am pretty sure that no one thinks huffing diesel(or any exhaust) is healthy, but is diesel exhaust really that bad? Well, it all depends. If we are talking the new VW TDIs then diesel exhaust is not bad at all. If you are talking about old industrial equipment, that might be a different story.
So what does this mean for the future of VW, and the TDI? In the immediate future it does not mean anything. It will take years for any type of new restrictions to come of that report. I am sure there will be pressure on all makers of diesel engines to clean up the tail pipe emissions. Here is what VW had to say about it.
Newer technologies ranging from improved combustion, to after-treatment exhaust fluid systems to (specifically) particulate filters have, “contributed significantly to minimize particulate emissions,” says VW.
The diesel engine has been a core product in Volkswagen’s powertrain offerings since the 1970s and will continue to be so into the future. “The diesel engine is highly efficient and remains an essential building block in Volkswagen’s drive to reduce CO2 emissions.”
The TDI will be a power house for VW for many years to come. The engines will get better, faster, more MPG, and produce less pollutants.
Just so no one gets too worried about diesel exhaust, here is what WHO did NOT tell you
- “The main studies that led to this conclusion were in highly exposed workers”
- WHO did not give an exposure level of any kind
- They didn’t say it, but this is less of an issue in countries with higher quality diesel.
So what is my overall conclusion to the WHO. NO KIDDING! Does anyone really think that sitting in a room full of any type of smoke is a good idea? NOPE. Why would diesel be any different. I say, don’t worry too much about it. Just don’t stick your face in the exhaust pipe! Diesel fuel, the big culprit according to WHO, is getting better and better.
I wonder if there is influence by the people that think Hybrid is the answer. Anyone have thoughts? Is diesel going to kill us all? Does the higher MPH off set the slightly higher “risk”? Are hybrids really the answer?
Here are some resources if you want to read more