WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA)-- Tuesday's announcement from the World Health Organization that diesel fumes can lead to cancer has many commuters on Washington streets concerned.
According to the WHO, the fumes have been classified as "possible" carcinogens since the late 80's. Now, diesel's new status equates the dangers from the emissions to that of secondhand smoke, asbestos, or ultraviolet rays.
However, not everyone is buying it. A spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute said that the finding was premature, saying:
"The agency should have reserved judgment on the carcinogenicity of exhaust from newer fuels and engines until the extensive research currently underway is completed."
Ryan Clark, a commuter who uses the Metro system said he was concerned to hear the announcement.
He said, "To hear that, it's a little troublesome, to hear that it's an actual carcinogen"
A report by WMATA, the agency in charge of DC's metro system showed 44% of its buses are fueled by diesel. 8% are powered by something called "clean diesel."
Many who are exposed to the fumes on a daily basis say it's almost impossible to get away from being exposed to the fumes.
Commuter Jenna Goldman said, "I don't know what else I can do."