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I first experienced this at the age of 22. I was a machine operator running a Bobcat skid-steer loader. I have also seen this in factory work from guys running the towmotors.  Symptoms I have experienced include: decreased decision making, bad headaches and lathargic responses. It has been so bad that one day after about 10 hours of operating in a field, with little wind, I was vomiting and could not eat until I woke up at 4am still with the headache and feeling drained and flu-like.  Muscle cramps. This is all a direct reaction to inhaling the diesel exhaust. I have over 10 years of experience of working in hot climate including New Mexico, Arizona, Tennessee (where summer mountain-top work can be some of the most humid, oxygen-depleated effort known…to me).  And I have even suffered heat exhaustion. All without machines around. Quite similar the two.  But most of the time I only run the loaders for a few hours at a time. Now I know to take breaks to get some fresh air into my lungs. It is much better to lose time to rest than it is to lose a person or property due to the adverse affects of “diesel fatigue”. Usually it's best to take turns on days with stagnant wind. I think a study on workers who are exposed to diesel exhaust fumes of varying amounts of time could be enlightening.


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