Government research group COMEAP or the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants recently revealed the findings of a review they did on close to 70 studies that focused on understanding the effects of exposure to emissions on the brain.
The almost 300-page report concluded that there is a possible link between air pollution and the increase in cognitive decline and development of dementia, particularly among seniors or older people.
Over the years, there has been a steady increase in dementia cases and, according to the National Health Service (NHS), the number of people in the UK who are suffering from the condition has gone up to about 850,000.
Aside from dementia, respiratory ailments, lung cancer, and heart disease are also linked to exposure to air pollution.
Exposure to toxic air emissions affects the flow of blood to the brain because of the pollutants that enter the circulatory system. Additionally, the blood vessels become harder and narrower, which can lead to heart attacks, abnormal heart rhythms, and clots.
Nitrogen oxide emissions
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The most common type of air pollution comes from vehicles, particularly diesel engines. Such vehicles emit NOx or nitrogen oxides, a group of gases that form as a result of fossil fuel combustion. The main component of NOx is nitric oxide (NO), which then reacts with other atmospheric gases and forms NO2 or nitrogen dioxide. On its own, NO2 is already quite harmful, but when it reacts with NO and becomes NOx, it can have life-changing and dangerous effects on the environment and human health.
Nitrogen oxide is known to form acid rain and photochemical smog. When it reacts with other chemicals, NOx can form ground-level ozone, which is known to trigger respiratory tract inflammation, asthma attacks, and other adverse health impacts. Ground-level ozone also negatively affects vegetation, which results in the stunted growth of plants and crops, and their exposure to frost and damage.
If a person is exposed to nitrogen oxide emissions, they can suffer from several health effects, including fluid build-up in the lungs, difficulty in breathing, nausea, headaches, asthma (or aggravated asthma for those who already have the condition), cough, rhinorrhoea (runny nose), throat and eye irritation, and vulnerability to respiratory infections such as bronchitis and emphysema.
Long-term, high-level exposure to NOx emissions can cause severe lung damage/chronic lung disease, spasm of the vocal cords or laryngospasm, asphyxiation, increased susceptibility to cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and premature death.
Exposure to toxic air was the primary cause of death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, the nine-year-old UK resident who died after a severe asthma attack in 2013. Ella and her mother Rosamund lived near the South Circular Road, which is one of the most highly polluted areas in the UK. She was exposed to high volumes of nitrogen oxides. She was in and out of hospitals for months because of seizures, asthma, and other respiratory ailments.
Toxic air, according to the World Health Organization and European Union, has become the primary cause of premature death. This is why the UK, Europe, the US, and other countries have set zero emissions goals for the coming years.
Emissions and the Dieselgate Scandal
NOx emissions are a major issue of the Dieselgate scandal, which first broke out in 2015. The diesel emissions scam shocked the automotive industry as US authorities accused Volkswagen of installing illegal defeat devices in their diesel vehicles.
These defeat devices are intended to cheat emissions tests. They can detect when a vehicle is in testing and when they do; the devices reduce emissions levels using artificial means. Emissions are kept within the limits recommended by the WHO, so the vehicle appears clean and safe for the environment.
In reality, though, the vehicle emits voluminous amounts of nitrogen oxides once driven in real-world road conditions. Thus, any vehicle with a defeat device is a pollutant. Volkswagen cheated and lied to their customers when they marketed their products as premium quality, clean, safe, and high-performance vehicles.
Aside from Volkswagen, other carmakers were also implicated in the diesel emissions scandal, including Mercedes-Benz. US owners of Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles were the first ones to bring a class-action lawsuit against the carmaker for the alleged use of defeat devices.
In the UK, affected car owners first brought a Dieselgate compensation claim against Mercedes in 2020. Thousands upon thousands of drivers are affected throughout the UK and Europe.
The UK government’s zero emissions goal is intended to reduce and eventually eliminate toxic emissions by putting a stop to the sales of diesel and petrol vehicles.
What you can do to help
Volkswagen, Mercedes, and other involved carmakers should be held responsible for their deception. To do this, you should bring a claim against them with the help of a panel of emissions solicitors. A successful claim will give you compensation worth a couple of thousand pounds.
A Mercedes emissions claim can take time and may be challenging, so it is important to start the process the right way. Verify your eligibility for bringing a diesel claim against your carmaker by visiting the ClaimExperts.co.uk website. Here, you can determine if you are eligible to claim compensation. Visit their website here – https://www.claimexperts.co.uk/mercedes-diesel-emissions-claims-dieselgate-compensation/