World Health Organisation Diesel Emissions Report highlights cancer risk

Confirmation from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that diesel emissions are carcinogenic came as no surprise to the leaders in the development of emissions monitoring and reduction technology at Peak3.

Peak 3 CEO Col Chandler said the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), declaration that classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans (group 1) was announced last week (12 June).

“Many people associate diesel exhaust “smoke” with emissions danger but it’s not the smoke that is the problem, it is the nano particles that are created by diesel engines,” Mr Chandler said.

Mr Chandler said these particles were invisible to the naked eye and could be as small as 5 nano metres.

“Ironically the big black particles that can be seen in sooty smoke are generally sneezed or coughed out but it is the nano particles which are often coated in harmful organic compounds from the fuel and lubricants and were able to penetrate more deeply into the lungs,” he said.

“As the WHO has confirmed, this dramatically increases the risks of cancer and unfortunately newer engines are not a protection from this because in many cases they simply reduced the smoke or mass but could in some cases actually increase the number of diesel particulates – which are much smaller and could not be seen.  It also raises the legal and governance risks for mining company boards.”

Mr Chandler said the WHO finding was the strongest confirmation yet of the importance of the research and development Peak3 had undertaken to develop their revolutionary diesel engine particulate emissions management, treatment and monitoring solutions was of considerable benefit to any industry using large diesel fleets.

“Our technology has applications for all diesel engines but is particularly important for the underground mining industry because of the enclosed environment. It is also vital for these companies to know they are effectively keeping the emissions as low as reasonably possible, and the traditional methodologies simply don’t do that, ” Mr Chandler said.

According to the Chairman of the WHO’s IARC working group, Dr Christopher Portier, the scientific evidence was compelling and the working group’s conclusion was unanimous: diesel engine exhaust cases lung cancer in humans.  In the IARC’s release, Dr Portier said given the additional health impacts from diesel particulates, exposure to this mixture of chemicals should be reduced worldwide.

Peak3 have developed a number of world-leading emissions treatment and monitoring technologies including the Particulate Management Platform that treats nano and ultrafine particulates using ultrasonic agglomeration, a process that was developed with collaborative research assistance from the Australian Coal Association Research Program and CSIRO.

Diesel emissions include up to 41 toxic compounds – which pose health risks to underground miners. Peak3’s focus is on helping mining companies reduce costs and reduce emissions through better use of new planning, monitoring and treatment technologies and services and ensure they can adhere to the strict emissions regulations being implemented globally.  At the heart of that approach is Evidence Based Emissions Management.

Peak 3, a Queensland Science and Engineering company, also provides a range of monitoring and emission planning services to the mining market that enable mine operators to more efficiently measure the emissions and aims to become the ‘standard’ for end-to-end emissions management in the mining industry.

“The first step to managing the problem of diesel emissions is to effectively measure it, given traditional treatment technologies don’t work well for the treatment of the harmful smaller particles,” Mr Chandler said.

“As a result we were asked by the mining community to develop a system that did treat them, and other systems that enabled measurement.

“The mining industry has driven this innovation but it will be of benefit worldwide.

“Diesel is a great technology and powers much of the world’s industry. It’s simply not practical to shift everything to gas or electric, we just have to make sure it is as safe as possible which is what we have done,” Mr Chandler said.

For more information visit the Peak3 website – – or phone 07 3801 4897.

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