The Toxicity of Diesel Exhaust: Implications for Primary Care

Irina N. Krivoshto, BA; John R. Richards, MD; Timothy E. Albertson, MD, MPH, PhD; Robert W. Derlet, MD


J Am Board Fam Med. 2008;21(1):55-62. 

In This Article


Volatile hydrocarbons such as PAH attach to DEPs and are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the central nervous system. A possible association between chronic DEP exposure and Parkinson's disease has been explored because DEPs have been shown to decrease the number of dopaminergic neurons in the brain tissue of mice.[59] Another study group demonstrated that brain inflammation induced by DEPs resulted in histopathologic changes similar to those seen in patients with Alzheimer's disease.[60] The result of chronic DEP exposure may affect learning ability, coordination, memory, and judgment in both children and adults.[61] Kilburn demonstrated slowness of response, memory loss, and disordered sleep suggestive of neurobehavioral impairment in workers whose occupations involved significant indoor diesel exhaust exposure. Abnormalities such as visual field defects, delayed blink reflex latency, and balance impairment, as well as impaired recall memory, problem solving, and perceptual motor speed tests were also detected.[62]


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