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Diesel Exhaust, Particulate Matter & Air Quality Concerns

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Published on Jul 24, 2014

Diesel engines provide power for a wide variety of vehicles, heavy equipment and other machinery used in a number of industries including mining, transportation, construction, agriculture, maritime and many types of manufacturing operations. The exhaust from these diesel engines contains a mixture of gases and very small particles that can create a health hazard if not properly controlled.

According to an OSHA & MSHA Hazard Alert, diesel particulate matter (DPM) is a component of diesel exhaust (DE) that includes soot particles made up primarily of carbon, ash, metallic abrasion particles, sulfates and silicates. Diesel soot particles have a solid core consisting of elemental carbon, with other substances attached to the surface, including organic carbon compounds known as aromatic hydrocarbons.

Occupations with potential exposure to diesel particulate matter and diesel exhaust include miners, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, material handling operators, bridge and tunnel workers, railroad workers, oil and gas workers, loading dock workers, construction workers, farm workers, long-shoring workers and vehicle maintenance garage workers. Any employees in the vicinity of diesel powered equipment may be exposed to diesel particulate matter and diesel exhaust.

Short term exposure to high concentrations of diesel particulate matter and diesel exhaust can cause headache, dizziness and irritation of the eye, nose and throat severe enough to distract or disable workers. Prolonged diesel particulate matter and diesel exhaust exposure can increase the risk of cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary and respiratory diseases as well as lung cancer.

Even those who have homes or go to work or school in areas with elevated levels of diesel particulate matter and diesel exhaust can be at risk.

These are just a few things to know about diesel particulate matter and diesel exhaust concerns. To learn more about this or other air quality, environmental, health and safety issues, please visit the websites shown in the video.

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