Diesel fumes


Diesel engine exhaust fumes (organic carbon and black carbon)

It is internationally recognized that exposure to exhaust fumes from diesel engines entails a workers health risk. In 1988 these fumes were recognized as a possible carcinogen in humans (Group 2A) by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and in June 2012 admitted as a carcinogen in humans (Group 1) by the International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC). Recently, on January 16, 2019, the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2004/37 / EC, on the protection of workers against the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens during work, including, among other agents, emissions from diesel engines. The limit value adopted in this document is 0.05 mg/m3, measured through elemental carbon. A transitory period is also granted before of applying it, after its transposition, of two years (February 21, 2023), which increases to five years in the case of tunneling and underground mining (February 21, 2026).


The National Institute for Silicosis has led several risks assessments to diesel fumes exposure in underground mining in which all the pollutants associated with these emissions (gases, PAH, VOC, metals, carbon and particulate matter) were included. This has allowed the INS to acquire the necessary technology and knowledge for the measurement, analysis and prevention of exposure to the aforementioned pollutants, especially against Elemental Carbon linked to the updating of the directive.