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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Study Indicates Emissions-cheating Vehicles Linked to Worse Health Outcomes in Babies, Children Across U.S.

A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is the first to show that diesel cars implicated in the emissions-cheating scandal had population-level impacts on infant and child health.

More than 600,000 cars billed as having “clean diesel technology” were sold by automakers in the United States between 2008 and 2015. The new working paper finds the additional pollution from the exhausts of these cars is linked to lower birth weights in approximately 38,600 children and an increase in acute asthma in infants and children. The effects were especially pronounced for children born to mothers from high socioeconomic backgrounds, the study concluded.

“Car pollution is obviously a central issue for all of society — even the wealthiest members of society are exposed to it on a daily basis, although the poor are exposed more,” said co-author Dr. Hannes Schwandt an economist with the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern. “It is surprising that little is known about the causal impacts on population health.”

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