WIT Press

Reduce Health Risks By Subsidizing Particulate Traps On New Diesel Cars


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R. M. M. Van den Brink & L. Van Bree


From 2010 on, new diesel cars sold in the European Union will probably have to be equipped with particulate traps to be able to meet the Euro-5 emission standards. In order to possibly diminish the health impacts of exposure to airborne particulates, the Dutch Ministry of the Environment is going to subsidize particulate traps on new diesel cars between 1 January 2005 and the time the Euro-5 emissions standards come into force. The Ministry asked the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency to assess the possible short-term health risk reduction of this subsidy programme for 2010. The total number of premature deaths due to short-term exposure to PM10 in the Netherlands is approximately 2800. However, there is still much uncertainty about what part of the total PM10 causes this observed acute mortality. For this reason the health risk reduction of the particulate trap subsidy programme was estimated using three different assumptions on which part of PM10 is actually causing acute premature mortality. From the assessment we can presume the subsidy programme to result in around 40 fewer premature deaths (~1% of 2800) in 2010 due to short-term exposure to PM10 in the case only primary anthropogenic PM10 causes the observed acute health impact. In the hypothetical case that only the carbonaceous part of primary anthropogenic primary PM10 or Black Smoke cause the observed health impact, the health benefit is estimated at around 5% of 2800. One should bear in mind that the share of all diesel cars in total PM10 emissions in the Netherlands in 2010 is only 6% and the share of diesel cars in the average PM10 concentration is even smaller, around 1%. Despite the uncertainty about what fraction of PM10 causes the observed short-term health impacts, subsidizing particulate traps could still be justified from a precautionary perspective and besides, long-term exposure to diesel PM is harmful to humans. Keywords: diesel particulate trap, PM10, health impact assessment, traffic.


diesel particulate trap, PM10, health impact assessment, traffic.