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Diesel Fumes May be More Polluting than Gasoline

EMSL Analytical tests for a variety of substances in our industrial hygiene laboratories, including diesel particulates.


During a recent study conducted in California, researchers took air samples from California’s San Joaquin Valley and an Oakland traffic tunnel and performed a chemical analysis. The results indicated that diesel fuel emissions are actually more polluting than many perceive, according to the LA Times.

The study specifically focused on the pollutant known as secondary organic aerosol (SOA), a major element of smog. Secondary organic aerosols are tiny particles that float throughout the atmosphere that have been chemically altered after exposure to other elements.

Researchers discovered that diesel exhaust accounted for 65 percent to 90 percent of vehicle-related secondary organic aerosol in a region. Percentages vary in accordance with traffic. Additionally, researchers found that diesel exhaust is seven times more capable of forming aerosol than gasoline exhaust.

The study also revealed that in the United States, 21 percent of on road fuel is diesel. In California, diesel fuel is accountable for nearly 10 percent in cities and over 30 percent in agricultural regions.

“Exposure to secondary organic aerosol can contribute to serious health effects including heart and respiratory problems,” states Scott Van Etten, CIH, EMSL Analytical’s National Director of Industrial Hygiene. “EMSL Analytical, the nation’s leading industrial hygiene laboratory, provides advanced testing for diesel particulates at our fully equipped and accredited laboratories in Garden Grove, CA and Cinnaminson, NJ.”

For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit, or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is the nation’s leading testing laboratory with over 30 locations throughout the United States and Canada. We are a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in consumer product, environmental, industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, microbiology, radon, food, and materials testing services to professionals and the general public.


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