US-based non profit organization Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) recently revealed that new diesel engines will not increase lung cancer risks. The DTF made the statement after the Boston-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) concluded its multi-year Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) on testing new diesel engines.
The test was done on laboratory rats which were exposed 80 hours a week to a heavy-duty diesel engine that met 2007 US EPA standards (97% decrease of sulfur content on highway diesel fuels) that were fitted with new filters and other control technology that reduce emissions significantly. The test yielded some promising results since according to HEI, the lifetime exposure did not produce tumors, neither did it cause pre-cancerous change to the rats' tissues.
There was however an increase of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) presence in the lungs, which is common with long-term exposure, though HEI added this has been reduced after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed more stringent regulations in 2010.
Dan Greenbaum, President of HEI, stated that this will be an important role for future risk reviews of diesel engines. Greenbaum added that 30% of US roads today are populated with trucks and buses that run on new clean diesel engines.
"These results confirm the great strides that government and industry have made to reduce diesel risk and argue for even greater efforts to accelerate the replacement of older diesel engines," said Greenbaum.
Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of Diesel Technology Forum said that the study certifies the benefits of clean diesel technology.
"The significance of this study and its conclusions cannot be overstated. 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," said Schaeffer.
Under the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, Euro 4 standard requiring diesel fuels to have a maximum 50 ppm of sulfur will only imposed by January 1, 2016. Currently imposing Euro 2 standards, a recent proposal by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last September suggested implementation be done as early as mid 2015 to improve overall air quality in the country.