California workers who are exposed to diesel fumes on the job may not realize the threat it poses to their health. Complaints have been filed by workers in another state who do rail maintenance and often spend hours working in under-river tunnels. The diesel engines they work on exude overwhelming fumes that can cause occupational illness.
Workers who do maintenance work on buses are also at great danger. Mine workers are also exposed to diesel emissions. A 2012 study showed that those who were exposed were at risk of developing lung cancer. Respiratory illness and cardiovascular disease can also be brought on by diesel fumes and minute airborne particles. Furthermore, it was found that these workers are also at risk of bladder cancer because toxins are filtered from the blood through the kidneys.
The Environmental Protection Agency considers diesel emissions as nothing more than a likely carcinogen. In 2012, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer deemed it as threatening as asbestos. The organization determined that it is an obvious carcinogen.
California workers who are exposed to diesel fumes on a regular basis may opt to discuss the possibility of occupational illness with their doctors if they experience health consequences. Bus maintenance workers and subway workers were found to be at the highest risk of lung cancer, and employees seeking to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits must act as soon as the cancer is diagnosed. Workers' compensation laws require only proof that the condition was triggered by a workplace hazard -- it need not be the sole cause.
Source: thechiefleader.com, "More-High-Tech Train Poses Greater Health Hazards for Transit Workers", Sarah Dorsey, June 18, 2015