EU Noxious Emissions

eu-noxious-emissions

In September 2015 the mainstream media revelled in the Settled Science Spectacular known as the “VW Scandal” [aka Dieselgate].

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the “VW Scandal” is that the EPA isn’t complaining about it’s favourite bogeymen: Sulphur, Ozone and Carbon Dioxide.

Instead, the EPA have scraped nitrogen oxides from the bottom of their scaremongering barrel where atmospheric levels of NO2 are a stunningly small 0.02 parts per million [whilst NO levels are so insignificant they aren’t even listed].

Nitrogen dioxide – NO2 – 0.02 parts/million (ppm)

The Engineering Toolbox – Air Composition
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-composition-d_212.html

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/demonising-diesel/

In September 2016 we learn that VW are selling the least polluting diesel vehicles.

As Dieselgate turns one year old, a new study by Transport & Environment (T&E) reveals that Volkswagen is currently selling the least polluting (Euro 6) diesel vehicles.

above-the-nox-limit

Dieselgate 1st anniversary: all diesel car brands in Europe are even more polluting than Volkswagen – study
Published on September 19, 2016
European Federation for Transport and Environment
Europe’s leading NGO campaigning for cleaner transport

https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/dieselgate-1st-anniversary-all-diesel-car-brands-europe-are-even-more-polluting-volkswagen

Strangely enough, Volkswagen have been selling the least polluting diesel vehicles since September 2015 when the Euro 6 standards were introduced.

euro6

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_emission_standards

The better performance of Volkswagen Euro 6 cars has nothing to do with the Dieselgate, but with better technology choices made before the scandal burst.

Dieselgate 1st anniversary: all diesel car brands in Europe are even more polluting than Volkswagen – study
Published on September 19, 2016
European Federation for Transport and Environment
Europe’s leading NGO campaigning for cleaner transport

https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/dieselgate-1st-anniversary-all-diesel-car-brands-europe-are-even-more-polluting-volkswagen

Apparently, the demon NO2 “is responsible for an estimated 72,000 premature deaths in Europe”.

Last year, the European Environment Agency said that NO2, mainly created by diesel engines in urban areas, is responsible for an estimated 72,000 premature deaths in Europe.

Dieselgate 1st anniversary: all diesel car brands in Europe are even more polluting than Volkswagen – study
Published on September 19, 2016
European Federation for Transport and Environment
Europe’s leading NGO campaigning for cleaner transport

https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/dieselgate-1st-anniversary-all-diesel-car-brands-europe-are-even-more-polluting-volkswagen

So let’s go down this statistical rabbit warren of an estimated 72,000 premature deaths.

premature-deaths-2012

European Environment Agency – Premature deaths attributable to air pollution
http://www.eea.europa.eu/media/newsreleases/many-europeans-still-exposed-to-air-pollution-2015/premature-deaths-attributable-to-air-pollution

First up:

Although these estimated death numbers were released “last year” [2015] they actually relate to 2012 when [strangely enough] the Euro 4 standards were operational for diesel cars.

Euro 5

This applied to new type approvals from September 2011 and to all new diesel cars from January 2013.

AA – Euro emissions standards
http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/fuels-and-environment/euro-emissions-standards.html

Second up:

These estimated deaths are based upon WHO recommendations for “air pollution” and [therefore] are not specific to diesel cars [or even diesel engines] because “observed concentrations” include all sources of air pollution – including natural sources.

The recommendations from a report on health risks from air pollution by the WHO (2013c) were used.

For PM 2.5 impacts have been estimated for the full range of observed concentrations.

For NO2 the recommendation by the WHO (2013c) that the NO2 impact should be
calculated for levels above 20 μg/m 3 was followed.

EEA Report No 5/2015
Air quality in Europe – 2015 report

http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/air-quality-in-europe-2015/at_download/file

Third Up:

Although the maximum hourly mean level of NO2 can reach 600 ppb in urban areas [during rush hour] this appears to be well below the “recommended” exposure level of 1,000 ppb in the US.

Annual mean concentrations of NO2 in urban areas are generally in the range 10-45 ppb (20-90 µgm-3).

Levels vary significantly throughout the day, with peaks generally occurring twice daily as a consequence of “rush hour” traffic.

Maximum daily and one hourly means can be as high as 200 ppb (400 µgm-3) and 600 ppb (1200 µgm-3) respectively.

Globally, quantities of nitrogen oxides produced naturally (by bacterial and volcanic action and lightning) far outweigh anthropogenic (man-made) emissions.

Air-Quality.org.uk – Air Pollution
http://www.air-quality.org.uk/04.php

Nitrogen dioxide
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
PEL  (Permissible)  C   5 ppm [ 5,000 ppb](9   mg/m3)
REL  (Recommended)  ST  1 ppm [ 1,000 ppb](1.8 mg/m3)
IDLH (Immediate danger)20 ppm [20,000 ppb]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_dioxide

Fourth up:

Although the the European emission standards are based upon NOx levels [Nitric Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide] the estimated 72,000 premature deaths in Europe are only attributed to NO2 [Nitrogen Dioxide].

NOx is a generic term for the mono-nitrogen oxides NO and NO2 (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NOx

The mismatch between EU emission standards [based on NOx] and estimated deaths [based upon NO2] opens up the curious [and unanswered] question:

Does a 5 seater VW diesel car emit less NOx than 5 bicyclists?

In medicine, exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) can be measured in a breath test for asthma or other conditions characterized by airway inflammation. Nitric oxide (NO) is a gaseous molecule produced by certain cell types in an inflammatory response

The upper normal level of eNO in different studies ranges from 20 to 30 parts per billion.

In 1987, experiments with coronary arteries showed that nitric oxide was the long sought endothelium-derived relaxing factor.

After scientists realised that NO played a biological role, its role as a cell signalling molecule and neurotransmitter became clear from abundant studies.

NO was first detected in exhaled breath samples in 1991.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhaled_nitric_oxide

Burrowing down further requires some population numbers for 2012.

eu-population-2012

https://web.archive.org/web/20121129002856/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_Union_member_states_by_population

Calculating the Estimated NO2 Premature Deaths per 100,000 for 2012 reveals a very inconsistent picture across Europe with Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom having outlier values above 20 per 100,000.

2012-estimated-no2-premature-deaths-per-100000

Calculating the Estimated Air Pollution [PM2.5+O3+NO2] Premature Deaths per 100,000 for 2012 reveals another very inconsistent pattern across the EU.

2012-estimated-premature-deaths-air-pollution-per-100000

Whether these [standardised] estimates are valid is another question altogether.

Eurostat have produced Standardised Death Ratesfor Respiratory Diseases in 2013 which provides a [very rough] yardstick against which the estimates can be evaluated.

2013-standardised-death-rate-respiratory-diseases-per-100000

Table 1: Causes of death – Standardised Death Rate, 2013 (per 100,000 inhabitants)
Eurostat – Causes of death statistics

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Causes_of_death_statistics

The randomness in this [very rough] county-by-country comparison suggests the [standardised] estimating death methodologies are far from robust primarily because the Standardised Death Rates are far from uniform across Europe.

estimates-vs-standard

However, when the maximum hourly mean levels of NO2 are 400 ppb below the “recommended” exposure level of 1,000 ppb it appears the “VW Scandal” and the “NOx Emission Standards” are just Spurious Settled Science Scams.

no2-estimates-vs-standards

In other words: Keep on Trucking.

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One Response to EU Noxious Emissions

  1. tempestnut says:

    This is very good. Not an easy subject to get people focused on, and therefore an easy one for the establishment (I can’t think of another word for them at the moment) to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.

    I note that the Department of Justice (oxymoron if there ever was one) is trying to figure out what is the maximum fine it can levy without putting VW out of business. At some point the management of VW and other manufacturers will have to grow a pair and start fighting back against junk science. But I guess that is going to take a big change in politics.

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