Ethanol Health Risks

Angela forwarded me a similar article on some resent research which states that ethanol may have greater health risks than gasoline as a auto fuel. From the article I tagged in del.icio.us from New Scientist (see lower right, titled "Warning: Biofuel may harm your health"), it appears that the number of deaths increases by 185 going to an ethanol fleet from a gasoline fleet in the Stanford researchers model. That’s out of about 10,000 deaths annually, or less than 2%. Frankly, I have reservations against believing that one model can really predict within 2% (maybe if this was a summary of several studies). But assuming it is accurate, there’s always the question about what carbon emissions will do as well. Will more than 185 people die as a result of not switching to biofuels. Frankly, I think that a switch to non-carbon based fuel sources or generation of energy (e.g. – wind, solar, hydro, geo, etc.) is the only long-term, sustainable answer in any case.

One thought on “Ethanol Health Risks”

  1. Some more information: This news item from Science indicates that the predicted 185 deaths annually in the U.S. (due to a switch to Ethanol) would be a 4% increase. Not sure how that math came about, but then again, I haven’t had the chance to read Dr. Jacobson‘s paper yet, either (published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology [abstract, article for pay journal subscribers only]).

    Again, I do not mean to fault Dr. Jacobson’s work. If it stands to peer review (which is apparently has), then I by no means wish to imply his work is not accurate. Rather, I simply think that this represents a first step towards understand the risks associated with Ethanol and simply one part of the data set needed for good policy.

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