My Urban Car

Effects of vehicles on air quality & Health reports

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.

Original report

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.

2018 Road Safety Report – International Transport Forum

David Nicholson

David Nicholson Is the founder of Rivergecko Ltd & MyUrbanCar which provide consultancy and advice for drivers and fleets to speed the transition from dirty fossil fuel transport to clean vehicles powered by renewable energy on land water and air.

The @MyUrbanCar twitter feed is a source of news & reviews of electric & plugin cars and vans in the UK.
The @rivergecko twitter feed & websites bring news and opinion on cleantech transport including cars, vans, buses, trucks, shipping, rail & aviation as well as autonomous vehicles & renewable energy, air pollution & motor industry news.

David Nicholson has worked as an underwriter at Lloyd's of London since the 1980's. His interest in technology goes back many years including interactive mapping, apps, green tech, boats, solar and cars.