Most hazardous substances are labelled and identified, but there are also carcinogens created as a by-product during a work process, so called process-generated carcinogens (PGCs). As PGCs are usually not labelled and not referred to in Safety Data Sheets, these PGCs need special attention in OSH practice because millions of worker’s in Europe are daily exposed to PGCs. One of the processes that emits PGCs is combustion.
Combustion is the reaction between a fuel and oxidant accompanied by the release of heat. During combustion, new chemical substances are created from the fuel and oxidizer, which creates exhaust fumes. In occupational settings, carcinogenic (and other hazardous) substances are emitted upon combustion and form a hazard to workers. Examples of work situations in which exposure to carcinogenic substances from combustion occur are welding (welding fumes) or inhalation of diesel exhaust fumes.