The life-threatening impact of air pollution on human health can no longer be taken for granted as the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health or RCPCH and the Royal College of Physicians or RCP revealed that at least 40,000 early deaths every year in the UK are linked to toxic air. This is a significant increase from the previous estimate of 29,000.
RCPCH and RCP’s report proves that air pollution has become a health crisis of global proportions. It has become an even bigger problem than tobacco and smoking.
According to the report, air pollution is a long-term dilemma, starting from foetus development (and while the baby is still in the womb) to infancy, and all the way through old age. Exposure to toxic air affects kidney and lung development, may cause miscarriage, and increase susceptibility to strokes and heart attacks in the elderly.
Additionally, there is strong proof that air pollution is linked to a reduction in lung growth during childhood and the beginnings of asthma in both adults and children. Meanwhile, those who are already plagued by the disease are bound to experience aggravated asthma and their symptoms may become more severe.
While there are other sources of air pollution, such as power plants and factories emissions, diesel vehicles remain to be the most common toxic air contributor.
Diesel vehicles and the diesel emissions scandal
Diesel cars used to be classified as safe and environmentally friendly but this changed in 2015 after the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal broke. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency or EPA and the California Air Resources Board, the Volkswagen Group knowingly installed defeat devices in the diesel vehicles – specifically VW and Audi – that they sold to American consumers.
A defeat device is engineered to detect when a vehicle is in testing so it could suppress – and thereby mask from the authorities – emissions levels to within the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, when the vehicle is brought out and driven on real roads, it goes back to its default settings, expelling massive amounts of nitrogen oxide or NOx, making the vehicle a contributor to the world’s air pollution problem.
As such, VW did not only violate emissions regulations, but they also deceived their customers when they marketed their diesel vehicles as clean and safe.
Volkswagen initially denied the accusations against them but their officials eventually admitted that they knew about the defeat devices. The carmaker has been paying fines, facing group litigation or class-action lawsuits, and recalling vehicles since then.
A few years after VW was caught using cheat software, authorities turned their attention on Mercedes-Benz. Additionally, Mercedes vehicle owners in the US joined forces to bring a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturer in relation to the use of defeat devices. Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, denied the allegations against them, and they continue to do so nowadays even if they’ve been paying fines and compensation and recalling affected vehicles through the years.
The Mercedes emissions scandal reached UK shores in 2020. Today, thousands upon thousands of Mercedes-Benz owners in the UK are affected, and many have joined together to bring a diesel compensation claim against their carmaker.
Other carmakers implicated in the diesel emissions scandal include BMW, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Renault, Nissan, Ford, Jeep, Citroën, and Vauxhall.
Nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel vehicles
Diesel vehicles are pollutants because they emit nitrogen oxide or NOx.
NOx is a group of gases that has nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) as the main components. These two gases, particularly NO2, can cause devastating effects on the environment and human health.
Nitrogen oxide contributes to the formation of acid rain and smog. When it combines and reacts with other chemicals, it produces ground-level ozone, a pollutant that affects the ecosystem. Crops and plants that are exposed to ground-level ozone become weak and susceptible to frost and damage. Their growth is also affected.
Studies and reports have also proven that exposure to NOx emissions can trigger anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. NOx emissions have also been proven to reduce cognitive function.
The most dangerous effects of exposure to NOx emissions are on human health. People who are exposed to such emissions can develop several health issues, including breathing problems, asthma or aggravated asthma, respiratory issues such as emphysema and bronchitis, fluid buildup in the lungs, headaches, and nausea.
Serious health impacts include asphyxiation, chronic reduction of lung function, laryngospasm or spasm of the vocal cords, increased risks for cancer and cardiovascular illnesses, and premature death.
These environmental and health impacts are the two major reasons car owners affected by the diesel emissions scandal should bring a compensation claim against their carmakers.
How to bring forward a compensation claim
How do I bring forward my diesel claim?
The first thing that you should do is verify if you are eligible for a Mercedes emissions claim. Only certain models are affected by the scandal, so it is essential to find out if your vehicle belongs to any of the categories. There are other details as well that are essential to identifying affected vehicles.
To start working on your claim, get in touch with the panel of emissions solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk as they can help you determine your eligibility in bringing a diesel emissions claim to court.