For seven years starting with 2008, the German automaker Volkswagen released 11 million diesel cars throughout the entire world. What is known is that each one of these vehicles entered the consumer market after it cheated on standard emission tests. This event was the core of a major emission violation of the Clean Air Event. On January 11, 2017, the company settled the lawsuit for $4.3 billion in penalties. A new study discovered that this scandal didn’t only render a loss of popularity for Volkswagen, but it will also leave a heavy stamp on worldwide health.
On Friday, a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology appeared. The findings suggest that Volkswagen might be liable for 1,200 premature deaths in Europe alone. The scientists analyzed the impact of additional nitric oxides on the atmosphere that the unrecorded diesel emissions produced. The 2.6 million vehicles that were registered only in Germany are going to induce the premature death for 1,200 persons all over Europe. The real damages can be even bigger than this. The study wants to alert the carmaker on the results of its activity and urge it to address the problem and find it a solution.
The lead author of the study is Guillaume Chossière is a research assistant at MIT. His starting point of the paper originated from the fact that any diesel car produces certain levels of nitrogen oxides or NOx for short. These are the result of burning fuel, and they are responsible for the formation of acid rain, tropospheric zone, and smog. To his opinion, manufacturers are responsible for managing such chemical reactions and create proper devices that work well in controling emissions.
Scientists had to measure the excess levels of mono-nitrogen oxides by collecting data on the carmaker’s sales, driving behavior, and how much emissions these cars produced while on-road. The next step was for scientists to use technology and simulate how these gases can travel across Europe. By measuring how much extra NOx people are going to inhale, the result of the study suggests that the number of cases of respiratory and cardiopulmonary diseases will increase.
Moreover, the scientists investigated the outcomes of Volkswagen taking full responsibility for its emission violation and organizing a complete recall. If they upgrade the vehicles according to the European emissions limits by the end of this year, the results will be massive. First of all, this action will avert 2,600 additional premature deaths. Secondly, the health costs will be lowered by 4.1 million.
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