The Truth About Diesel & Alzheimer’s

The Iron Oxides Found in Diesel Fuel Additives — Not Diesel Fuel — Linked to Alzheimer’s

According to several mainstream media articles and reports, a new study conducted at Lancaster University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides evidence that tiny magnetic particles from diesel fumes lodge in the brain where they may contribute to conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

But the mainstream media articles and the claims made by several government officials — when compared to the evidence actually provided in the report and the assertions actually made by the researchers who wrote it — lead one to wonder if the media and some government representatives might have an ulterior motive.

It appears that many of the facts the mainstream media is using are cherry-picked and that other facts are used out of context while even others in the report — some of great relevance with respect to diesel, gasoline, and hybrid emissions— are being ignored.

If the mainstream media is ignoring large sections of the report and quoting parts of the research out of context, it begs the question, is it true are legislators and private and corporate interests, “using the research boost the case to send a tax signal that draws new car purchasers away from diesel,” as the An Taisce — the National Trust for Ireland — claims in an article titled Diesel fumes linked to Alzheimer’s.

Upon reading the report independently, it can be argued that claims made by people with alternative motives, in the hopes of swaying favor at the poles, are being pushed by European representatives and businessmen to drive an anti-diesel agenda.

Diesel Does Not Have Iron Oxide in It

Diesel fuel additives — as well as hybrid fuel additives and gasoline fuel additives — contain iron oxides to fossil fuel emissions. Oil additives also have iron oxides. Engine wear creates iron oxides.

But, diesel does not contain iron oxides.

Diesel does not pollute the environment with iron oxides, whether they are associated with Alzheimer’s or not.

Invalid Premise Leads to False — and Odd — Conclusions

The idea that iron oxides are naturally occurring elements in diesel is a misleading, but a false premise that almost every mainstream media report’s argument hinges upon. That diesel contains iron oxide is a misleading claim many of those decrying the health risks of diesel are leaning on to support what might be considered the use of hyperbole and scare tactics to besmirch the world’s cleanest fossil fuel.

“More than 14,000 years of life are lost every year in Ireland due to particulates, and diesel cars are the single largest cause,” claims the An Taisce.

But, the Environmental Protection Assocation’s (EPA) statistics paint another picture.

According to the EPA, 84 percent of all particulate matter is of, “miscellaneous and natural sources and fugitive dust.”

And, of the 16 percent of the particulate matter released into the atmosphere dailiy which is not naturally occurring — according to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution — only 17.8 percent is associated with transport.

Residential heating alone accounts for 29.6 percent of all particulate matter. Of all the world’s greenhouse gases, “The energy sector [those producing electricity] makes up about 76 percent of the world’s emissions,” according to ClimateCentral.Org.

But, instead of concentrating on the energy sector, legislators in Western Europe seem intent on making changes that will limit the use of the world’s cleanest fossil fuel even though it, in fact, emits lower amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide than does gasoline, coal, natural gas and propane.

Data and Results-Less Talk

“Ireland has a massive problem with diesel cars,” claims Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications Officer of An Taisce, noting that “diesel cars in Ireland still account for over 70 percent of total new sales due to the lower tax rate applied to diesel fuel.”

“The country needs to get back on track, shifting car sales away from diesel and on to electric vehicles and hybrids,” contends Stanley-Smith.

While it is possible that the numbers are real, pre-combustion diesel fuel catalysts can reduce particulates by up to 20 percent, elemental and organic carbons by up to 35%, and cancer-causing volatile organics by up to 58.7 percent.

Whether Ireland, other countries in the European Union, those countries in the Western World, and those developing countries who are beginning to pollute on a massive scale need to begin buying electric vehicles and hybrids is not only debatable — electric energy production already accounts for 3/4 of the world’s greenhouse gases, — it is beside the point.

Following An Taisce’s less-than-straight-forward lead, DailyMail printed a misleading article of its own titled, Alzheimer’s ‘is linked to diesel engine fumes.’

While the title clearly implies that diesel fuel fumes contain iron oxide and that iron oxide can cause Alzheimer’s quotes toward the bottom of the article from three different doctors and Dr. Clare Walton, research manager at the Alzheimer’s Society, made it clear that there is no evidence of a causal relationship between Alzheimer’s and iron oxide.

And furthermore, the researchers concluded that all engines produce iron oxide.

Iron oxide is found in diesel exhaust — and in gasoline and hybrid engine exhaust as well — because, “exhaust contains metal and metal-oxides originating from lubrication and fuel additives and from engine wear,” according to a report published by National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Europe Using Wrong Catalyst is Real Problem

Unlike mechanical, pre-combustion fuel catalysts, “Fuel and lubrication oil additives contain metals as functional components, such as zinc, and magnesium in oils and cerium, iron, manganese, platinum and copper in fuels.”

If Western Europe is interested in reducing iron oxide in the environment, it should be moving away from fuel additive catalysts, not diesel — the most efficient and cleanest fossil fuel available.

Moving away from the most highly productive fossil fuel isn’t the solution. Mandating the use of mechanical, pre-combustion fuel catalysts — like the Rentar Fuel Catalyst — might be.

 

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