Diesel fuel emissions are damaging to the environment, as are other exhaust fumes. Since our environment is being compromised by such exhausts, tests have been done to see which of the two diesel fuels, diesel and bio-diesel, are more harmful.
While it is known that upper respiratory diseases are related to polluted air and some effort is under way to substitute bio-diesal fuel, it is a minimal effort. Test have shown that exhaust from bio-diesel engines are less damaging to the human airways than regular diesel.
The diesel exhaust is more damaging to cell structure than the bio-diesel exhaust. In fact, it is being cited as the cause for asthma and other respiratory diseases and possibly a contributor to lung cancer.
The research cited was done at Deakin's School of Life and Environmental Sciences, in Australia. Associate Professor and his helpers compared the effects of the diesel exhaust against the effects of bio-diesel and concluded that diesel fumes were damaging to the respiratory system and that bio-diesel had little or no effect.
Lung cancer and asthma and the usual hacking cough is not the only diseased conditions thought to be caused by fossil fuel exhaust; breathing it in probably has detrimental effects on the body as a whole. It is likewise a known fact that what affects one part of the body affects all of the body. This is especially true when the lung capacity is impaired and is not capable of supplying air to all of the cells of the body as is needed.
The Australian studies were done in laboratories, they were not done in live human beings, but they believe their findings would be the same were human studies being conducted over time. Their proposal is to substitute bio-diesel fuel for regular diesel fuel. They say there is much resistance.
Bio-diesel fuel is from plant materials. In my country, the United States, the problem exist and is every bit as bad as it is elsewhere, Australia included. We often hear news reports and newspaper articles about grease from restaurants being converted into gasoline; about how corn is being converted into fuel (ethanol), and how other ingenious efforts are pointing us toward becoming a more environmentally friendly nation.
Electric automobiles are slowly being substituted for the gas-guzzling kind and will, sometime in the future, get us from here to there and back. These work, as is shown by the profusion of the little scooters zooming in and around every corner, but their speed and their fuel capacity is limited. They must be recharged after an hour or so of use.
What's holding them back at present is their expense and their inability to go long distances. They need to be recharged after a certain amount of use and this prohibits them from long driving needs.
Possibly in the future, and hopefully when electricity is more plentiful from clean sources such as from the sun, the wind, the ocean, etc., cars and buses and trucks will no longer be belching out toxic fumes, threatening to render us as useless as diesel generated vehicles will be someday.