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On the approach for calculating occupational exposure limits for diesel motor exhaust
  1. Matthias Möhner
  1. Division of Work and Health, Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Matthias Möhner, Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Work and Health, Nöldnerstr. 40-42, 10317 Berlin, Germany; Moehner.Matthias{at}, Matthias.Moehner{at}

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In a recent report, Vermeulen and Portengen estimated diesel motor exhaust (DME) exposure levels corresponding to acceptable risk and maximum tolerable risk levels of 4×10−5 and 4×10−3 for the lifetime excess risk (LER) of dying from lung cancer.1 According to their calculations, the two exposure levels are in the magnitude of 0.01 and 1.0 µg/m3 elemental carbon, respectively, that is, below contemporary exposure situations in certain occupational settings and in many congested urban areas. These estimates are much too conservative for two main reasons.

First, lung cancer risk due to DME, calculated from three epidemiological studies, is overestimated. A recent review highlights …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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