23 July 2012, 00:00
Since its establishment in 1948, the aim of the World Health Organization (WHO) has been to increase the level of health of the human race. Today, it has now grown to include 194 member countries and plays a pivotal role in influencing th health legislation on a global scale. June 12th this year marked a significant day in the diesel industry as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) located in Lyon, France and the WHO made the joint announcement of their 1 findings from a recent study and declared diesel exhaust as definitely carcinogenic.
Dr. Christopher Portier, Chairman of the IARC working Group, stated: “The scientific evidence was compelling and the Working Group's conclusion was unanimous: 2 diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in humans.” With its upgrade to a “Group 1” substance, diesel exhaust is now included in the highest classification a harmful substance can achieve. This new classification effectively states that the agent is confirmed as a definite human carcinogen thereby establishing it as a th cancer-causing agent. Prior to the June 12th announcement, diesel exhaust was classified only as a probable human carcinogen, only a “Group 2A” substance.
PM 2.5 IS THE LEADING METRIC
The conclusion of the study has taken some time to be finalized, however, not for lack of suitable studies. Rather for differences in the scientific principles utilized in the research and measurement of the data being studied. In the past data was collected based on light absorption; the higher the light absorption, the dirtier the air was considered. Although this methodology still holds true, it is too simple for a measurement to be applied to classify today's air pollutants despite the correlation between dirty air and adverse health effects for humans. Today the focus on measuring soot 3 in the air is centered on PM2.5 , a measurement scientists have found to be highly correlated to negative health effects.
HOW THESE RESULTS EFFECT THE FUTURES‘ ENGINE DEVELOPMENT
Although NO and PM values are already firmly planted x within emissions standards, the new WHO classification will drive discussions for a “stage 5” standard for non-road engines as well as a shift to counting particles by number instead of mass. With regard to diesel engine development, new drive-train concepts, hybrid engines, and a push towards lower fuel consumption, all can be expected from manufacturers.
Yet despite these platform evolutions to make these engines more efficient and clean, the diesel engine as a power source will remain an essential technology for many years to come. In the wake of the study's findings it is clear to see how they will guide future climate laws and engine development; however the more important question today is what solutions can be applied to today's existing engines to reduce their negative health impact?
Fortunately, technologies such as modern diesel particulate filters are proven solutions to the diesel exhaust dilemma, with multiple variants designed to mitigate harmful pollutants such as PM2.5 across every sector of diesel engine applications. In terms of variants, the most effective are those employing superior wall - flow technologies known for their highly efficient.
Arguably the most important advantage of DPF systems lies in the fact that they are not only a proven technology available to be implemented today, but that they are already being utilized for engine retrofits worldwide to curb the harmful and even fatal effects of diesel exhaust.
With the recent WHO ruling their value to the health of both society and environment has become ever stronger as they continue to be cost-effective solutions for a variety of abatement programs. In response to the WHO findings the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), America's highest level environmental regulation body, has already announced its plans to evaluate new proposals to address PM 2.5 airquality concerns . As this legislation progresses and new emissions limits are imposed it will become even more imperative for governments, businesses, and individuals to do their part and take the necessary precautions to reduce their PM 2.5 emissions.