A while ago an item hit the news and was quickly forgotten.
The item announced that “After a week-long meeting of international experts, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), today classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.”
Now in general I have little time for cancer studies as invariably they are slanted in favour of tobacco reduction. However, this has nothing to do with smoking and there are no vested interests involved, so I would be more inclined to give it credence.
So here we have a gas which is a carcinogenic. I quietly pondered to myself how much of this stuff is floating around.
I had a quick glance around the Interweb and found that at least one model of double-decker bus has an engine capacity of 9.3 litres. For the sake of mental arithmetic, we’ll call that 9 litres.
Those of you who know a little about car mechanics will know that the 9 litres is the displacement of the engine, and that a diesel engine expels its exhaust every second upward stroke. So a diesel engine running at say 1000 revolutions per minute will expel 9 x 1000 / 2 litres of exhaust. In other words, every minute it will produce 4,500 litres.
To put that in perspective, every minute a bus engine is running, it produces enough carcinogenic gas to fill a domestic central heating tank four and a half times over.
And that is just one bus. What happens if we include all lorries, tractors and ordinary domestic cars?
So I would ask our Minister for Sickness, Fatso Reilly what he intends to do about this? He is obviously concerned about cancer levels otherwise he wouldn’t be penalising smokers so heavily and trying to ban smoking in cars? I would ask him how many cigarettes would have to be smoked to produce four and a half thousand litres of concentrated carcinogenic gas. I would ask him if he uses a diesel car. I would ask if he intends to immediately ban all diesel cars, buses, tractors and lorries off our roads.
And what about our friend Crown who is so concerned about a bit of cigarette smoke floating in front of a child? Surely he must be galvanised into action or does it take the word of a seven year old to do that?
Here is a real example where the anti-smokers could shift their attention to something that would do some real good for the nation’s health.
Or maybe the anti-smoker industry has nothing to do with health after all?