Diesel exhaust 'kills' throat cells: Study

Diesel Exhaust
Washington, September 12 : Deakin University
researchers say that diesel exhaust is far more injurious to health
than exhaust from the plant-based biodiesel.

In a study led by
Associate Professor Leigh Ackland, Associate Head of Deakin's School of
Life and Environmental Sciences, the researchers compared the effects
of diesel exhaust and biodiesel exhaust on human airway cells.

They found that diesel exhaust damaged and killed the cells, while biodiesel exhaust had little effect.

"Australia's escalating need for fuel is posing a major health problem," Associate Professor Ackland said.

fumes from burning fuels, including diesel, contributes to pollution
and can cause heart disease, bronchitis and asthma. Efforts are
underway to replace petrol and diesel with cleaner biofuels, such as
biodiesel, but there is considerable resistance to this. This study
provides clear evidence that diesel exhaust is more harmful to our
health than biodiesel exhaust," she added.

Since doing a
real-time study on real human airway was impossible, the researchers
conducted their research on human airway cells grown in a culture.

They exposed the cells to the particulate matter emitted in diesel and biodiesel exhaust fumes.

matter is the burnt material, including carbon particles, emitted into
the air. This particulate matter is part of biodiesel and diesel fumes
but the particles produced from biodiesel were much less damaging to
the cells than particles produced from diesel," Ackland said.

research found that the particulate matter from diesel exhaust
stimulated a 'death pathway' response that the body uses to dispose of
damaged cells. This response caused the airway cells to fuse together
and die. We saw hardly any cell death after treatment with biodiesel
particulates," she added.

Ackland said that the new findings strengthened the belief that it was time to replace petrol and diesel with cleaner biofuels.

is clear that breathing in diesel fumes is going to have a far more
detrimental effect on our health than biodiesel. Given the level of
cell death we have found, diesel exhaust could be the cause of
respiratory disorders such as asthma and could even be implicated in
cancer," she said.

The study has been published in the journal Immunology and Cell Biology.