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A Genetic Consideration for Miners

Coffee with Samso Episode 33 with Chris Davis, Diesel Nanoparticulates

This episode is off our beaten track and a bit more scientific, but I believe it highlights an issue of great importance - the profound effects of diesel exhaust emissions on workers in the mining industry.

I’m talking here to Chris Davis, a veteran of the industry and the champion of this issue in the West Australian mining community.

Chris reveals the disturbing fact that miniscule nanoparticles in diesel exhaust can alter human genetic structure, meaning that future generations could suffer the effects of these emissions.

Diesel exhaust emissions, already declared a Class 1 Carcinogen by the World Health Organisation, consist of gaseous components like CO, NOx, Sox and HC, as well as diesel particulate matter (DPM) made up of carbon soot chains from the combustion process covered with solid metals, hydrocarbons, aldehydes and other chemicals.

The problem is that nano diesel particulate matter (nDPM) is so small – less than a hundredth of the width of a human hair – it’s easily ingested and the body has no natural defence. It passes directly from the lungs to the bloodstream to appear anywhere in the body and can even pass from the nose through nerves to the brain.

The World Health Organisation’s DPM Carcinogen classification mainly concerned lung cancer, but other clinical studies have indicated further health effects such as bladder cancer, DNA damage and impaired blood vessel function.

Highlights of my conversation with Chris include:

  • Everyone’s talking about COVID-19 transmission, but nDMP is much finer and lungs weren’t designed to handle diesel particles

  • A study at a West Australian mine showed that after just one shift miners ingesting these chemicals had higher blood pressure and lower respiratory function

  • More worryingly, the study showed some DNA gene functions had been altered

  • nDPM filters are available and have already been introduced on buses in Europe

Watch the interview here or see the video above.




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