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An evaluation of the environmental and health effects of vehicle exhaust catalysts in the United Kingdom

Hutchinson, E. J. and Pearson, Peter J. G. 2004. An evaluation of the environmental and health effects of vehicle exhaust catalysts in the United Kingdom. Environmental Health Perspectives 112 (2) , pp. 132-141. 10.1289/ehp.6349

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Abstract

Since 1993, all new gasoline-engine automobiles in the United Kingdom have been supplied with three-way vehicle exhaust catalytic converters (VECs) containing platinum, palladium, and rhodium, to comply with European Commission Stage I limits on emissions of regulated pollutants: carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen. We conducted a physical and economic evaluation of the environmental and health benefits from a reduction in emissions through this mandated environmental technology against the costs, with reference to urban areas in Great Britain. We made both an ex post assessment--based on available data to 1998--and an ex ante assessment--projected to 2005, the year when full penetration of VECs into the fleet is expected. Substantial health benefits in excess of the costs of VECs were indicated: By 1998 the estimated net societal health benefits were approximately 500 million British pounds, and by 2005 they were estimated to rise to as much as 2 billion British pounds. We also found through environmental surveys that although lead in road dust has fallen by 50% in urban areas, platinum accumulations near roads have risen significantly, up to 90-fold higher than natural background levels. This rapid accumulation of platinum suggests further monitoring is warranted, although as yet there is no evidence of adverse health effects.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: air quality, economic evaluation, Great Britain, health risk assessment, pollution, pollution control, platinum, road transport, urban, vehicle exhaust catalysts
Publisher: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
ISSN: 0091-6765
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:48
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/27208

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