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The science on the negative health impacts from burning diesel keeps mounting every year, and the number of diseases from exposure to this fossil fuel continue to grow and threaten Oregonians.

“We're actually learning that diesel pollution is more dangerous and has increased health risks more than we thought,” said Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) Deputy Director Jana Gastellum. “Even compared to just a couple years ago, new research has shown us that fine particulate matter can be linked to long-term, life-changing impacts, including autism, as well as more conventional illnesses such as cardiac arrest.”

Particulate matter, black carbon, greenhouse gasses, like CO2, all spew as co-pollutants from diesel tailpipes. OEC released Dirt on Diesel in 2016, a 14-page report detailing the damage caused by diesel pollution, and today’s update references worrying studies that recently also linked dementia, cardiac arrest, cancer, hair loss, neurological diseases,and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

“Diesel fuel happens to be one of the most toxic forms of energy that we use,” Gastellum said. “We burn it around our schools. We burn it at construction sites. We burn it on our highways near our homes, and it creates particulate matter that is bad for human and environmental health.

"Cleaner burning fuels can also be cheaper fuels. When we move to electricity or other fuels that are more price stable, we get wins for our economy, wins for the climate and wins for our health.”

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