The Impact of Car Pollution on Infant and Child Health: Evidence from Emissions Cheating
Diane Alexander and Hannes Schwandt at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Northwestern University respectively
June 13, 2019
This new study is still to be peer reviewed but is interesting because only 600,000 “cheating diesels” were sold in the US from 2008 to 2015. As a result of the thin spread of these cars across the US the study has compared pollution levels for every cheating diesel in every county with local pollution and health records
This work can’t be replicated in Europe because cheating diesels were sold in such large numbers over such a wide area that there are no control or placebo locations without them.
What the study has found is a county by county correlation between registered “cheating diesels” and local levels air pollution as well as numbers of babies born with low birthweight and children with asthma. These are measurable per diesel vehicles per thousand. Ie you can measure low birthweight and see a difference in areas with 1 diesel car per thousand and 2 per thousand.
If validated this could profoundly inform the health costs of diesels in Europe where around half of vehicles are “cheating diesels” that emit far more than regulated limits when on the road.
Big priviso here – this paper needs to be peer reviewed but it suggests that compared to 1,000 petrol cars, each diesel car that does not achieve regulated US limits on the road, drives up low birthweight births by nearly 2% & asthma emergency hospital admissions by 8%. There is barely a diesel car or van on the road in Europe that passes US limits
Report in Scientific American
Provides a basic summary of the findings
Report in Vox
More thorough look at the findings but also areas that need scrutiny in the findings on this yet to be peer reviewed study.
Revealed: Air pollution may be damaging every organ in the body
Comprehensive review of 70,000 studies into the health effects of air pollution published in the Guardian in May 2019.
The research shows head-to-toe harm, from heart and lung disease to diabetes and dementia, and from liver problems and bladder cancer to brittle bones and damaged skin. Fertility, foetuses and children are also affected by toxic air, the review found.