Pulmonary specialist of pollutants in towns and cities “harmless” – and reaps protests

Germany is fighting to driving bans. Be justified with the nitrogen oxide load. “If the limit is 40 or 100 micrograms, makes no difference. Since there are no more deaths”, says the lung specialist, Dieter Köhler. However, with its provocative opinion, he is largely alone.

When it comes to the Federal government, cities with relatively low Exceedances of the limit value for nitrogen oxides of driving bans for non-proportionate. It comes to cities with maximum values of up to 50 micro-grams, the limit is 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic meter of air.

Dieter Köhler holds the limit for excessive excessive. With his provocative opinion of the Professor and of the lungs is a medical specialist in sleep is a frequent interview guest. Only yesterday he was a guest at "Hard but fair", where he bans another Time "total Unsinn" and the limit as "Witz" described. “Even if he was twice as high, there is no health risk.” This is really no risk. So far, the researchers were sitting in your ivory tower. Now, will unmask and you need to do late but it is now thought to be the last nine years of valid laws.

The former President of the society for lung medicine, justified his statements by saying that the human body produces nitric oxide and it is used with such substances. I would also be stuck alone in the smoke of a cigarette is a million Times more fine dust.

His professional colleagues and the Federal environment Agency is the issue, however, is quite different. So, what’s in köhler’s theses?

Thesis: smokers breathe in a lot more nitrogen happens to a and nothing to you

Köhler compares the limit value in the road with the crowd, inhales a smoker. Because the combustion process is nitrogen dioxide from nitrogen. "The dose is compared to the limit value a thousand-fold höher", Köhler says. When you Inhale up to 1000 micro-grams of NO2 were in the lungs. This is many times more harmful than all day at a traffic Hot-Spot breathing exhaust gases.

"Nitrogen dioxide does not kill Healthy, to the extent that you die not acute at the NO2, if you smoke a cigarette. It is correct to say that the urban traffic-related air pollutants, for which NO2 is a Marker, a lifetime shortening zählt&quot would be;, Dennis Nowak from the Institute and outpatient clinic for occupational-corrected, Social and environmental medicine, University Munich Thesis.

Also, the Federal Association of pulmonologists, in contrast, holds that the pollution in cities "a toxic Mix of health Substanzen&quot hazardous; is. "To limit health effects on a pollutant such as nitrogen dioxide, is never the real total load in transport, residential and areas of life."

Thesis: nitrogen dioxide in traffic is dangerous

The health hazards of fine dust and nitrogen oxides were deliberately exaggerated, said Köhler in addition, at a Symposium on the subject of car exhaust gases in Ludwigsburg. The previous studies had, at best, found a minimal increase in health risk to busy roads. And the influence of fine dust and nitrogen oxide to human health is minimal in comparison to factors such as Smoking and alcohol and Sport.

A healthy people will affect the exhaust gases. But what about the others? "The oxides of nitrogen from diesel engines are strong irritants and inflammatory stimulators for Atemwege", Christian Witt, a Professor at the Charité hospital in Berlin said the German Lungentag. "The pollutants make the skin on a already damaged mucous membrane, they act as a fire accelerant – fires of inflammation."

The experience has also made the Leverkusen lung doctor Norbert Karl waste iron, made in 2016 with his criminal complaint against the car manufacturer for headlines. "Respiratory diseases, Asthma and respiratory allergies, to take evidence, especially when people close to the main roads wohnen", waste iron of the “Rheinische Post”. He noticed in his practice that the number of respiratory diseases in Leverkusen, Germany, have increased, are not due to nicotine. "These patients, however, were, or are still, fine dust and nitrogen oxide exposed to busy roads."

Limits as a protective measure

Also the Federal environment Agency is contrary to Köhler. Environmental medicine Wolfgang Taut said in "Today Journal": "The NO2-limit values apply not only for adults and healthy people. You can apply for all – also for Pregnant women and for unborn children. The limits are designed to provide prevention for the entire population."

It is about the protection of particularly sensitive population groups that suffer from Asthma, COPD, coronary heart disease, or Diabetes, but also Pregnant women and children, particularly small children in strollers, which are located on the exhaust height.

  • Fine particles fine particles in the air, not fall to the ground, but a certain amount of time in the atmosphere. You are not see with the naked eye, to be perceived in certain weather as haze bell.
  • In the case of the size of the particles PM10, fine dust can penetrate through the nasal cavity in the deeper areas of the bronchi.
  • The smaller particles PM2. 5 can penetrate to the bronchioles and alveoli.
  • Ultra-fine particles with a diameter of less than 0.1 µm can even penetrate the lung tissue and the bloodstream.
  • Depending on the size and depth of penetration of the particles, the health effects of fine dust are various: irritation of the mucous membranes, inflammation of the throat, the trachea and the bronchi or damage to the lungs skin.

(Source: German Federal Environment Agency)

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Thesis: nitrogen dioxide is not a cause for diseases

Köhler sees no scientific evidence that nitrogen dioxide at this low concentration, as you go through the road traffic is generated could be harmful to the human body. It’s not even in the bloodstream.

With this point of view, he stands quite alone. When Lungentag 2018 Joachim Heinrich of the Institute of epidemiology of the Helmholtz Zentrum München, pointed out: "An assessment of health effects may remain in the lungs and the respiratory tract as target organs and, of course, have heart disease, maybe even Diabetes, dementia, and cognitive disorders. There is no rational reason to make the existing limit values for fine dust and nitrogen dioxide in question."

Thesis: If the limit is 40 or 100 micrograms, makes no difference

For the lung specialists Köhler, the limits are purely arbitrary. "Whether the nitrogen dioxide limit value is 40 or 100 micrograms, makes no difference. Since there is no dead mehr", he said in Stern TV.

The authors of the Europe-wide ESCAPE study. In the study, the longitudinal were analysed sectional data from 300,000 subjects, and for the first time a connection between exposure to fine dust and nitrogen geographical oxides of data. What the scientists also: Increases the fine dust to only five micrograms per cubic metre, the data showed a statistically significant increase in the mortality rate by seven percent, the authors write in The Lancet. FOCUS Online weather Alarm in the world! TerraX-legend Lesch explains what can save us yet

Thesis: In Germany no one has died due to nitrogen oxides

"The EU limit values for nitrogen oxide and particulate matter were in any way hazardous to health, in Germany, no one had died due to oxides of nitrogen. Despite Diesel", is Köhler quoted on stern.de .

The other experts to confirm. But this has also claims no one. "Nitrogen dioxide is a Marker of traffic-related air pollution. NO2 is not the Killer. NO2 correlated highly with the particle load, this is the Killer. If the traffic load is reduced, the decreases in NO2, but remains a Marker and is not the cause of the Gesundheitseffektes", Dennis Nowak explains.

According to statistics from the European environment Agency, EEA, in Germany, in 2017, to approximately 54,000 to 66,000 in premature deaths due to fine dust, of 12,000 to 44,000 by nitrogen oxides and 2,200 by ozone.

There are in all of this is also good news: The levels of air pollutants declined in the past 25 years, according to the Federal environment Agency.