EPA eases several gasoline-related regulations in response to COVID-19 pandemic

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is easing several gasoline-related regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, EPA intends to provide additional flexibility to the marketplace to transition from winter-grade, high volatility gasoline to summer-grade low vapor pressure gasoline. Due to the steep fall-off in gasoline demand as a... Read more →


The COVID-19 has hit the Chinese EV sector hard; CRU, a provider of business intelligence on the global metals, mining and fertilizer industries, believes that weak sales will last at least until early Q2 2020. Nonetheless, it continues to forecast Chinese EV sales growth in 2020 over 2019’s total. EV... Read more →


Faced with the compelling need for more respirators, the French government asked a group of French industrial companies led by Air Liquide to study the possibility of increasing the production of respirators so as to provide 10,000 respirators in 50 days, between the beginning of April and mid-May. In response,... Read more →


As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, it created a critical shortage of face masks. To help protect workers in essential services across the country, GM launched a rapid-response project to produce masks at scale on 20 March. Seven days later, the team had produced its first sample on... Read more →


Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, will begin producing in Michigan the Airon pNeuton model A ventilator with the goal to produce 50,000 of the needed units within 100 days and up to 30,000 a month thereafter as needed. Established in 1997, Airon Corporation is a privately held... Read more →


The SEAT Leon line at the Martorell, Spain, plant is producing automated ventilators to collaborate with the healthcare system in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Going from producing cars to ventilators in record time is the result of the intense work of many SEAT employees. The motivation of everyone... Read more →


Study links air pollution to dementia and cardiovascular disease

People continuously exposed to air pollution are at increased risk of dementia, especially if they also suffer from cardiovascular diseases, according to a study at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal JAMA Neurology. Patients with cardiovascular diseases who live in polluted environments may require additional support from care... Read more →


The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will cancel its June 2020 show in Detroit in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeping across the world and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s expected plans to repurpose TCF Center into a temporary field hospital. NAIAS will hold its next annual show... Read more →


On 20 March, GM announced a cooperation with Ventec Life Systems to increase production of Ventec’s multi-function ventilator VOCSN to support the growing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. (Earlier post.) One week later, on 27 March, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), directing the Scretary of Health and... Read more →


Volkswagen AG is releasing employees with medical qualifications for up to 15 working days with full pay if they volunteer for work in the public health service. As of 27 March, there were 42,288 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Germany—a country-wide average of 51 cases per 100,000 population (0.05%)—with 253... Read more →


A sudden drop in miles traveled by car in the US triggered by wide-spread social isolation measures will have immediate ramifications for gasoline demand. IHS Markit analysis finds that US gasoline demand could fall by as much as 4.1 million barrels per day (MMb/d) during the COVID-19 response period. The... Read more →


Researchers at the University of South Australia (UniSA), in partnership with DragonFly, are working to deploy a drone to monitor and to detect remotely people with infectious respiratory conditions. The drone will be fitted with a specialized sensor and computer vision system that can monitor temperature, heart and respiratory rates,... Read more →


Bosch Healthcare Solutions, together with Randox Laboratories Ltd., has developed one of the world’s first fully automated molecular diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is posing major challenges for healthcare systems and medical institutions worldwide. An ability to rapidly diagnose the virus is of invaluable help in curbing its... Read more →


Brazil-based oil company Petrobras will direct part of the processing capacity of its high-performance computers (HPC) to contribute to the Folding@home Project effort on studying the coronavirus behavior in the human body and how the disease progresses, from the interaction of viral proteins, making way for for the development of... Read more →


INEOS, a leading chemcial manufacturer, announced it will build a UK factory to produce 1 million bottles of hand sanitizer per month within 10 days and will replicate this in Germany. These will be produced according to World Health Organisation specifications and be specifically designed to kill bacteria and viruses.... Read more →


EEA data show air pollution goes down as Europe takes hard measures to combat coronavirus

The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) data confirm large decreases in air pollutant concentrations—of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in particular—largely due to reduced traffic and other activities, especially in major cities under lockdown measures. Reductions of around half have been seen in some locations. The EEA’s data are measured hourly, on... Read more →


Ford Motor Company, joining forces with firms including 3M and GE Healthcare, is lending its manufacturing and engineering expertise to expand quickly production of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies for healthcare workers, first responders and patients fighting COVID-19. In addition, Ford plans to assemble more than 100,000 face shields... Read more →


INRIX has published the first in what it says will be an ongoing series of reports on road traffic demand changes from the COVID-19 virus spread. The report finds that COVID-19 has reduced traffic by 30% nationwide so far in March. Source: INRIX. Total volume first dropped nationally on 13... Read more →


Stratasys Ltd. announced a global mobilization of the company’s 3D printing resources and expertise to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, spanning its Stratasys, GrabCAD, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and partner network with donated printing capacity across all regions. The initial focus is on providing thousands of disposable face shields for use... Read more →


COVID-19 infection at Toyota Takaoka plant

Toyota announced that a second male, full-time employee in his 20s working as a line worker at its Takaoka Plant in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee in question (Employee “B”) was a close contact of the Toyota employee who tested positive for COVID-19... Read more →


GM and Ventec Life Systems, in cooperation with StopTheSpread.org, the US’ coordinated private sector response to COVID-19, are collaborating to enable Ventec to increase production of its multi-function ventilator VOCSN to support the growing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Ventec’s VOCSN seamlessly integrates five separate devices including a Ventilator, Oxygen... Read more →


Data from the ESA’s Tropomi (TROPOspheric Monitoring) instrument on board the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite shows the variation of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions over China from December to March. A decline in NO2 corresponds to the outbreak of COVID-19 and a subsequent resurgence corresponds to the succes of measures to contain... Read more →


More auto plant shutdowns for COVID-19

Joining BMW, Ford and FCA in suspension of production in the US due to COVID-19 (earlier post) are: Toyota is temporarily suspending production at all of its automobile and components plants in North America, including Canada, Mexico and the US, through 3 April. Nissan will suspend production of its manufacturing... Read more →


Those living in polluted cities are more at risk from COVID-19, the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) warned today. Air pollution can cause hypertension, diabetes and respiratory diseases, conditions that doctors are starting to link to higher mortality rates for COVID-19. A 2003 study on victims of the coronavirus SARS... Read more →


A new open-access study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) below the legal limit of 0.08% accounted for 15% of alcohol-involved crash deaths in the United States. Of these deaths, 55% of fatalities were individuals other than... Read more →


Air pollution is responsible for shortening people’s lives worldwide on a scale far greater than wars and other forms of violence, parasitic and vector-born diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and smoking, according to an open-access study published in Cardiovascular Research. Professors Jos Lelieveld and Thomas Münzel, of the Max Planck... Read more →


Resource Watch has introduced a new data-driven Air Quality Dashboard featuring the latest maps and data visualizations on the state of the world’s air. Resource Watch worked with WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities to create this resource for data on air quality and emissions. From the Air Quality Dashboard:... Read more →


As the outbreak of the coronavirus now named COVID-19 began to scale in China, the organizers of AutoChina 2020 (the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition) cancelled their event which was due to be held in April. The Shanghai Formula 1 Grand Prix also cancelled. Now, although not of the scale of... Read more →


The Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS), which was scheduled to open in three days and run until 15 March, has been cancelled due to the Swiss government’s response to the coronavirus. The Swiss Federal Council—the group that constitutes the federal government of Switzerland—held an extraordinary meeting today, categorized the situation... Read more →


Virginia Tech team developing intelligent wearable analyzer for pollutants in transportation-related workplaces

With a $2.3-million award from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an interdisciplinary team of Virginia Tech researchers led by Masoud Agah, the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium Professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is developing an intelligent wearable analyzer for vapor exposure, called iWAVE,... Read more →


More than half of all air-quality-related early deaths in the United States are a result of emissions originating outside of the state in which those deaths occur, MIT researchers report in a paper in the journal Nature. The study focuses on the period between 2005 and 2018 and tracks combustion... Read more →


Daily exposure to ground level ozone in cities worldwide is associated with an increased risk of death, according to the largest study of its kind, published in an open-access paper in The BMJ. The findings—based on data from more than 400 cities in 20 countries across the world—show that more... Read more →


Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, with colleagues from Duke University, report that longer commutes are associated with increased human exposure to TDCIPP (tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate)—a chemical flame retardant that is a known carcinogen and that was phased out of furniture use because it required a Proposition 65 warning label... Read more →


In addition to harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, air pollution contains tiny particles that have been linked to health problems, including cardiovascular disease and asthma. Most studies have analyzed the potential health effects of larger-sized particulate matter (PM), such as particles less than 2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5). Now,... Read more →


Researchers calculate social cost of German nuclear phase-out at $12B/year; 70% from increased mortality risk

In a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a team from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) calculates that the social cost of the phase out of nuclear electricity production in Germany is approximately $12 billion per year. More than 70% of... Read more →


A new study suggests that significant early childhood exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) is associated with structural changes in the brain at the age of 12. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center study found that children with higher levels of TRAP exposure at birth had reductions at age 12... Read more →


Researchers from the University of Liverpool, Queen Mary University, London and Trinity College Dublin have linked exposure to diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) to susceptibility to pneumococcal disease. An open-access paper on the work is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that... Read more →


The gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine is one of the most prominent technologies car manufacturers adopted to achieve the fuel economy and carbon dioxide emission goals established in 2012 by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The market share of GDI-equipped vehicles increased from 2.3% in model year 2008 to 51%... Read more →


Jaguar Land Rover is developing a pioneering shape-shifting seat system designed to improve customer wellbeing by tackling the health risks of sitting down for too long. The ‘morphable’ seat, being trialed by Jaguar Land Rover’s Body Interiors Research division, uses a series of actuators in the seat foam to create... Read more →


Metal particles from the abrasion of brake pads (brake abrasion dust, BAD) may cause inflammation and reduce the ability of immune cells to kill bacteria, similarly to particles derived from diesel exhaust particles (DEP), according to a new study led by researchers at King’s College London. The researchers say this... Read more →


UCSF team finds significant increase in injuries for e-scooter riders

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have found a significant increase in e-scooter injuries and hospital admissions between 2014 and 2018—particularly over the last year—with people aged 18 to 34 years becoming the most injured group. Nearly one-third of patients had a head injury, more than double the... Read more →


U of T researcher suggests decline in dementia may be due to differences in lifetime exposure to lead; role of clean fuel regs

Several studies from the US, Canada, and Europe suggest a promising downward trend in the incidence and prevalence of dementia. However, important risk factors for dementia—such as mid-life obesity and mid-life diabetes—have been increasing rapidly, so the decline in dementia incidence is perplexing to researchers. A new hypothesis by University... Read more →


Study links closing of local automotive assembly plants in US to increase in deaths from opioid overdoses

Closing of local automotive assembly plants may lead to increases in deaths from opioid overdose, according to a study led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts General Hospital. The findings highlight fading economic opportunity as a driving factor in the... Read more →


Study suggests global impact of obesity may be extra ~700MT/y CO2eq: about 1.6% of worldwide GHG emissions

A new analysis led by a team from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, estimates that on a global scale, obesity contributes to extra GHG emissions of ~49 megatons per year of CO2 equivalent (CO2eq) from oxidative metabolism due to greater metabolic demands; ~361 megatons per year of CO2eq from food... Read more →


Study finds rapid health benefits following air pollution reduction

Reductions in air pollution yielded fast and significant impacts on health-outcomes, as well as decreases in all-cause morbidity, according to new open-access research published in Annals of the American Thoracic Society. The study by the Environmental Committee of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) reviewed interventions that have reduced... Read more →


Harvard study links short-term exposure to PM2.5 with risks of common but rarely studied causes of hospital admissions; substantial economic costs

Hospitalizations for several common diseases—including septicemia (serious bloodstream infection), fluid and electrolyte disorders, renal failure, urinary tract infections, and skin and tissue infections—have been linked for the first time with short-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5), according to a comprehensive new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School... Read more →


Concentrations of the harmful NO2 pollutant across 30 major European cities could be reduced by up to 40% with the correct traffic policy measures, according to EU Joint Research Center (JRC) scientists. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe.... Read more →


PM2.5 pollution linked to higher glaucoma risk

Living in a more polluted area is associated with a greater likelihood of having glaucoma, a debilitating eye condition that can cause blindness, according to a new UCL-led study in the UK. People in neighborhoods with higher amounts of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution were at least 6% more likely... Read more →


Study links exposure to PM2.5 exposure to brain atrophy, memory decline in older women

Women in their 70s and 80s who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution experienced greater declines in memory and more Alzheimer’s-like brain atrophy than their counterparts who breathed cleaner air, according to a new study by researchers at USC, Wake Forest School of Medicine, and their colleagues at... Read more →


Canadian study links exposure to ultrafine particle air pollution to brain cancer

Greater exposure to ambient ultrafine particles (UFPs, <0.1 µm) produced by fuel burning could increase people’s chances of getting brain cancer according to a new study by a team of researchers in Canada in the journal Epidemiology. This is the first study to suggest a relationship with the incidence of... Read more →