Biodiesel is the first and only alternative fuel to have a complete evaluation of emission results and potential health effects submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act Section 211(b). These programs include the most stringent emissions testing protocols ever required by EPA for certification of fuels or fuel additives.
Research shows biodiesel poses significantly less risk to health than petroleum diesel.
EPA reports that biodiesel emissions are significantly lower than diesel for air toxics, mutagens, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and sulfur. Please see chart for emissions details:
- B100 reduces particulate emissions by 55%, B20 reduces them by 18%. Particulate matter causes aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease, alterations in the body’s defense systems, damage to lung tissue, carcinogenesis, and premature mortality.
- Particulates contribute significantly to Denver’s “brown cloud.”
- Biodiesel emissions also reduce by 80% to 90% cancer-causing compounds called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrated PAH
- Biodiesel also reduces emissions of total unburned hydrocarbons, a contributing factor to smog and ozone, by about 68%. Long-term exposures to ozone may cause irreversible changes in the lungs which can lead to chronic aging of the lungs or chronic respiratory disease.
- Biodiesel contains almost no sulfur: B100 essentially eliminates sulfur emissions, B20 reduces by 20%. The EPA requires that 97% of sulfur be eliminated from diesel fuel by 2006 because diesel sulfur emissions cause acid rain and affect human health.
|Photo courtesy of Union of Concerned Scientists Clean Vehicles program|
Special concern for children riding public school buses:
- School children who ride diesel school buses are exposed to emissions up to 46 times the levels that pose a significant cancer risk under the Clean Air Act, according to the EPA.
- 85 percent of Americans believe it is important for schools to receive incentives to help pay for biodiesel.
- School districts in Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, Arizona, and other states have already switched to biodiesel because of its reduced emissions
Blue Sun Biodiesel, the Denver Regional Air Quality Council, and
Front Range school districts have applied for up to $1 million in
to pay for widespread biodiesel use in regional school buses beginning