Diesel driving bans: limits too high? Now lung doctors shoot-out against their own colleagues

A position paper of more than a hundred pulmonologist to Diesel-driving many citizens has unsettled prohibited. Your statement: The nitrogen oxide limits are not justified on a scientific basis and are far too high, and Now the pulmonologist-company reports. And explains exactly the opposite of the colleagues. The allegations in the fact-Check.

The experts had concluded in their position paper that in the case of fine dust or nitrogen oxide emissions was actually dangerous, the measures such as driving would justify the prohibitions and other limitations objectively. So you have contradicted numerous representations from public authorities, political lobby associations, as well as many media and news agencies.

The position paper of the speech, was written the leader of the lung experts, Dieter Köhler, the former President of the German society for pneumology and respiratory medicine (DGP). With his controversial theses of the lung specialist has for a few months by the media. Most recently his appearance at &quot provided;Hard but fair" a stir on Sunday he is invited to the home of Anne Will. It is clear that His statements be taken up by opponents of the driving ban grateful.

The Claim:

Politicians and representatives of the car industry now claims that a whole Armada of scientists have spoken out against the current limits for nitrogen oxides and fine dust. Hence, the discussion on the Diesel will be finally put on a scientific basis. Scientific studies would not have been evaluated by independent researchers.

But a fact check shows that despite the impressive experts number that has signed the position paper, the clear majority of other’s views.

The Facts:

The position paper of Köhler was sent out in early January to 3800 DGP-members. Signed it so far, however, only 112 of the members – that is, less than 3 percent of lung experts asked. This does not necessarily mean per se that köhler’s Position is wrong. It does not suggest, however, that a very large majority of the lung experts are in Germany, shares his view.

The Conclusion:

The official Position of the DGP United colleagues represents exactly the opposite of your Ex-boss Köhler. In a Dossier that dates back to November 2018, the Association to the following assessment: "Negative health effects also occur below the presently valid in Germany European limits." For the German population is currently "no optimal protection against diseases caused by air pollution, gegeben". Therefore, &quot was;a lowering of the legal limits. " Which means even stricter guidelines than those set by the legislature.

Another Association against the position paper of the Ex-DGP-in-chief

The Federal Association of pulmonologists, sleep and respiratory physician (BdP), which represents 1200 of the lungs doctors in Germany, which looks similar. "A trivialization of the effects of air pollutants endangered the efforts to minimize the risks and dangers of air pollution!", BdP-Chairman Frank Heimann warns in a message.

The Association, led by its members, a quick survey of 435 pulmonologist took part. The result is summarized as follows:

  • "For 91 % of the surveyed pulmonologists, it is understood that, for the protection of patients and the total population of the air pollution so far as is possible should be lowered.
  • 85% of the pulmonologists agree with the WHO, has recently declared climate change and air pollution is the biggest global threats.
  • 86 % of respondents do not agree that a discussion on the methodology of studies on the scientific evidence of air pollutants lead to a trivialization of the effects of air pollution.
  • 77 % are of the opinion that the nitrogen oxides Marker for bad air: they are indicators of stresses on the breath of air, and are representative for the other, often much more dangerous pollutants."

Nevertheless, the survey shows how ambivalent is the topic discussed. While 47 percent agree with the politically agreed limit values, rejects a narrow majority of 53 percent of the limits. This will show how much the limit values even under pulmonologists are controversial. The rejection of the result, however, is that limits "still hoch" be "and more werden&quot tightened; would have to.

"With this answer the pulmonologist, as in society as a whole, a disagreement about the right way to clean Atemluft", shall notify the Association. It had been criticised in the written responses, inter alia, that the limits were inadequate or wrong and in the political decision-making will doubt.

Allegation of Lobbying, it falls back to Köhler

The of his colleagues, now holds the key Dieter Köhler had a letter claimed his controversial position paper that he "no one interest group angehöre". Together with his Co-authors, he calls for "a re-evaluation of the scientific studies by independent Forscher".

In addition to Köhler also three more authors to sign up for the position paper, including the Karlsruhe engineer, scientist Thomas cook. According to the official Vita developed a chef for ten years, engines for Daimler. Views of scientists were "a popular Lobbyinstrument", lobby control-criticized – an Association that fights for greater transparency in political decision-making processes.


In Germany, a nitrogen dioxide limit value of 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The California Air Resources Board (Carb) – the body responsible for Monitoring the air in California is convinced that nitrogen oxides are already at in the longer term, sustained concentrations of more than 30 micrograms per cubic meter of air harmful. The world health organization WHO comes on the basis of the present studies also come to the conclusion that nitrogen can make oxides with small amounts of sick. According to the German Federal environment Agency, nitrogen oxides can attack cells in the lung and inflammatory processes trigger.