Its more than 3 years now that I am fighting for some improved quality of life in Austria and Europe and it’s time to take a hard stance. In the end, VW has been caught with its hands in the Cookie jar so what better time could there be?
Fine Particulate Matter (PM) is a highly toxic substance. However, awareness among most people is wafer thin at best. Many are aware that there is something that’s sure not good for their health but the vast majority believes that it has very little if any relevance in their own lives. They don’t perceive it as something that makes them very sick or is going to do so.
Most people are shocked when they learn that it causes lung cancer but as long as they are not personally affected by it (meaning unless they are confronted with a cancer diagnosis themselves), those thoughts are quickly suppressed and locked away in the dungeon of their minds. News on the horrible consequences of PM are here and plenty but mass media still rules our wakey time and they don’t really give it its space. People must be entertained in the end, at least until they die.
Let’s home in on heart attacks. It’s the single biggest killer on earth – in simple words; nothing kills more people each year. Most people believe that heart attacks are the result of the way we live and there is a lot of truth in this. Most people and media forget to add the vastly increased risks caused by PM. A huge stack of studies on the subject has clearly shown that the risk of cardiac arrest or even simple cardiac problems goes up enormously in places with high PM concentrations in the air. This means that the more diesel pollution there is, the more cardiac problems occur as a percentage of the population and also the earlier people die mostly due to cardiac problems.
But there is worse. Some of those studies pushed a little harder and found that there is strongly increased mortality from cardiac arrest on days with exceptionally high PM exposures. This means the likelihood to die on a day when PM levels are high is much higher than on days when PM levels are lower. Why is that?
Nano-PM (the new high compression “so called clean diesel engines” produce much more of this specific kind of PM) reaches the human blood circulation very quickly through the alveoli. In a matter of less than one hour after exposure to Nano-PM, the blood starts to thicken as those super small particles have a strong binding effect on liquids.
This causes blood clots which go on and clog arteries and veins. When one of those clots obstructs a vital artery in the heart or the brain it goes “life or death” in a matter of minutes. Studies have shown that less than 2 hours after inhaling increased levels of Nano-PM the clots have formed.
Now you can lock yourself in and not go out anymore but this is not going to save you. Below a particle size of 70 nanometers, PM is an aerosol and hence part of the air. Those particles are also very hard to filter out. Studies have concluded that the concentration of particles inside buildings was virtually the same as outside in the same area. Closing windows is not going to change anything for the better. The only pollution you reduce is noise.
Those ultra-small particles are also true champions when it comes to long-distance travelling. As they are more like a gas rather than a solid they barely sink. This makes them travel all around the globe.
But let’s remain in our neighborhood.
Those most exposed are children and teenagers. Their bodies are still growing and thus they soak up those particles like aspirators which then are stored in their body tissue. As soon as those particles have entered cells it’s very hard to get rid of them. The only effective procedure is a detoxification using strong overdoses of vitamins which is not really an enjoyable procedure.
We are in the middle of an unprecedented wave of very serious developmental conditions in children such as autism, ADHD or learning disorders. Dr. Kanner, the physician who has defined autism as a disease first, had said that he has not met more than 30 real autistics during his entire medical career. He was at his peak activity in the 1930ies.
Single physicians and specialists for autism today make this number in a month. Autism sure is over diagnosed today but I doubt it so by 10.000%.
We witness an astronomical rise in all sorts of serious personality disorders. Researchers have proven the link between fine particulate matter from diesel engines and grave psychological problems und dementia in countless studies. The University of Freiburg has found Nano particles two hours after inhalation inside the Neurons of test animals. Those particles were already hard at work to dissolve synapses. Nanoparticles render their victims truly stupid as they destroy brain matter and I am not having you on here.
The WHO has placed diesel emissions at the same level as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas in 2012. Each breath will cost you time on this planet and your brain dissolves in the same process. Breathing has become lethal. And instead of bringing the deluge of mortal particles under control with new emissions legislation, this very same legislation just makes it worse as it incites vehicles makers to make particles ever smaller in order to slip under the thresholds.
There are no tolerable limits for fine particulates. No matter how small the number you ingest, it will harm your organism irreparably. PM is not like CO2 which is a normal and natural constituent of our atmosphere. CO2 does not directly harm humans as it has always been here. You inhale and exhale it without any adverse direct consequences to your health. And plants consume it which reduces its amount in the atmosphere. It’s infinitely less dangerous and yet we are scared to death from it.
PM is infinitely more dangerous. As there are no Nano-particles in nature, the human body has never developed any mechanisms to deal with it and to heal. PM is very toxic in any concentration and no natural mechanism is here to reduce it in the atmosphere. We must stop producing it as we cannot manage it once it’s here.
Protection must be prioritized for children, the elderly and those which are sick. This is why I would like to propose a package of immediate measures to deal with the problem.
- No diesel vehicles in the vicinity of schools, nursery schools, play grounds and medical institutions at least 100 meters measured from the exterior limits of each institution;
- There must be a map with all those locations and their respective exclusion zones that everyone can consult on the internet;
- Street warning signs for all those exclusion zones;
- The zones must be valid for all diesel vehicles, also EURO6 as those are the biggest producers of Nano particles;
- A commitment by public bodies to exit all diesel vehicle use for public transport and a final date by which all diesel use in public transport must be achieved;
- New and improved measurement devices and stations for Nano-PM at neuralgic points in cities and agglomerations with live feed of their live measurements on the internet;
- A warning system when certain upper limits of PM are exceeded with warnings on national radio and television which must be mandatory for all stations;
- All particles shall be counted for their number beginning at a particle size of 1 nanometer;
- Newly defined maximum limits for Nano particles for vehicles outside exclusion zones. Diesel vehicles will never be zero emitters of particles so the objective must eventually be a total ban of those vehicle types;
- Clearly recognizable badge for all vehicles that produce no PM such as gas and electric vehicles so they can enter exclusion zones at sight;
- A catalogue of stiff penalties for all vehicles that are entering exclusion zones without the requisite permit to do so. Forced immobilizations of vehicles as well as fines must be considered. For heavy vehicles a GPS surveillance system shall be considered;
- Particle tax on diesel and gasoline fuel sales (yes they produce particles too) and a clear commitment that gaseous fuels that don’t produce such particles will never have to pay such taxes;
- A commitment that the proceeds from the particle tax are used for public health measures;
Strong stuff? Sure – but our very survival is in the balance. Let’s not forget that we have an alternative that works and is affordable. Its methane as a fuel.
We can go particles free if we really wanted to and it would not only save our lives but also a buck or two in the long run. If we all go insane or die, we cannot consume and that’s sure no good for any business. And it’s no vote winner either.