this is a very short, very rough draft of a research paper that i'm starting on. we were asked to post our progress on our blogs to receive feedback. so if you are in my class, feel free to pass along some constructive criticism! if not—participate as well! or not. your choice.
Diesel And It’s Effects On The Environment And Our Health
Carcinogens and other particles found in diesel exhaust
Diesel exhaust contains millions of very fine particles which are toxic air contaminants. These toxic particles are known as diesel particulate matter. To analyze the contents found in the diesel exhaust, it is important to know how diesel engines operate. Diesel engines differ from gasoline engines in the fact that they don’t rely on a spark-ignition system. Diesel engines compress air which through the process heats it up, and then inject fuel into the compressed air. This is called a fuel-mixture. When there isn’t enough oxygen for the engine to burn, the unburnt fuel is ejected in a cloud of exhaust. In general, this unburnt fuel is referred to as black carbon.
Studies have shown that diesel particulate matter can be made up of a variety of different chemical components. Many of these chemical components are cancer causing agents, which are called carcinogens. The most common carcinogens found in diesel exhaust are arsenic (a lethal poison,) benzene (which is often found in coal tar and petroleum,) and formaldehyde (a preservative used on cadavers.) All of these carcinogens are floating inside of the dark cloud of exhaust spewed by diesel machinery.
Effects on specific occupations
Malpractices of operators and their solutions
Old adage says that a diesel vehicle must be left running in order to keep the engine on. This is false and is actually a violation of the law in Chicago. When a vehicle is left running at a stand-still it is said that this vehicle is idling. A report from the Chicago Tribune targets this behavior and found that outside of baseball games where the charter busses were waiting to transport the teams, the level of diesel particulate matter was much greater than the surrounding air. The City of Chicago has implemented laws in order to discourage idling your vehicle. A fine of $250 is issued for idling. There are, however, exceptions to this rule which are: cars in traffic, and when the outside temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. In the State of Oregon, another malpractice is being deterred.
When a diesel operator gives the engine too much fuel, not all of it can be burnt up quick enough resulting in a dark black cloud. This cloud can be conjured up on accident or by the intent of the driver. Clearly there is an issue when a driver is purposefully spewing carcinogens and black carbon into the air around us. Oregon State law states that if a cloud of smoke is visible for more than seven seconds then a fine is issued.