HC Deb 14 November 1960 vol 630 cc5-6W
Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Health as representing the Minister for Science, if he will give details of the experiments carried out on behalf of his Department which show that diesel fumes are not endangering health.

Mr. Powell

Investigations into the effects on health of diesel exhaust fumes form part of the programme of research on air pollution undertaken by the Medical Research Council. They have included statistical studies on a large group of patients with lung cancer, which showed that in this group there was no greater proportion of persons who might have been expected from the nature of their employment to have greater exposure to vehicle exhaust fumes; and a study on London Transport employees, in collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer of London Transport, which provided no evidence of significantly greater mortality from lung cancer among men working in diesel bus garages. Analyses of the air in bus garages and busy streets have shown that motor exhaust fumes are only one of many pollutants and that their content of benzpyrene, a known cancer producing agent, is very small in relation to the total amount in the atmosphere from all sources. Even in congested spaces such as vehicular tunnels, pollution from exhaust fumes has been found to be no greater than the pollution of an urban atmosphere by coal smoke on many winter evenings. It seems reasonable, therefore, to deduce from these findings that diesel fumes are not endangering health