March 6, 2015
Exponent consultants Dr. Suresh Moolgavkar, Dr. Ellen Chang, Mr. Edmund Lau, and Dr. Heather Watson recently published a paper in Risk Analysis entitled, "Diesel Engine Exhaust and Lung Cancer Mortality: Time-Related Factors in Exposure and Risk."
Concern that exposure to diesel engine exhaust (DEE) might cause adverse health effects developed soon after the technology was discovered and introduced more than a century ago. With rapid expansion of the use of diesel engines post-World War II, this concern intensified, with attention focused on the potential for prolonged exposure to DEE to cause lung cancer. The approach to studying this issue has been multifaceted, including the conduct of epidemiological investigations, laboratory animal bioassays, and mechanistic studies using various models. Of these approaches, the epidemiological studies have received particular attention because the results are directly applicable to human populations without extrapolation across species or from in vitro settings.
To develop a quantitative exposure-response relationship between concentrations and durations of inhaled diesel engine exhaust (DEE) and increases in lung cancer risks, Exponent scientists explored the impact of temporal factors, such as duration of exposure and time since cessation of exposure, on lung cancer mortality following exposure to DEE.
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