The debate about diesel driving bans and health hazards due to nitrogen dioxide (NO2). After the criticism of more than 100 lung doctors and engineers to the limits and methods of measurement magazine, log in to the ARD-economy “plus minus” is now also a mathematician.
You throw the Munich-based Helmholtz Institute, to stir up in his controversial study for the Federal environment Agency, without any scientific basis of exaggerated Fears of more than 6000 premature deaths caused by nitrogen dioxide. "In this Report a formula is used, the ist" wrong;, Prof. Peter Morfeld of the Ruhr-University in Bochum says. "We can’t trust this data in the report of the Federal office for the environment. Such a statement is nonsense."
In the study by March 2018, the Helmholtz had calculated gradients Institute with statistical methods relationships between nitrogen dioxide pollution and disease. The researchers came to the conclusion that in 2014 around 6,000 people in Germany had died prematurely as a result of nitrogen dioxide. The study was also used in the debate about driving bans for Diesel cars repeatedly as an Argument.
Formula used incorrectly?
In an Interview with German business magazine "Plusminus" accuses the postdoctoral epidemiologist and mathematician Morfeld of the Helmholtz Institute, in the mathematics commonly used formula, the so-called AF formula (Attributale group), to have applied incorrectly.
For a calculation of premature deaths, the necessary data basis is missing. To be able to premature deaths caused by nitrogen dioxide to determine should be allocated to each Person to be evaluated, a statistical twin, with exactly the same lifestyle such as regular exercise, or about the same alcohol consumption. It is the NO2 could only be a difference:.
"If we do not have such data available, we can verwenden" the concept of premature deaths is not meaningful;, Prof. Peter Morfeld says. "And such data does not exist in epidemiology." If you only on the size look at that could be measured with the formula, namely, generally speaking, lost life-time, it follows a very different picture of the pollutant load, as publicly displayed.
Morfeld: "A great effect is obtained only if I have the formula wrong verwende"
The effect of NO2 exposure was in truth small, in 2014, statistically, for the total population was considered, only eight hours per Person. "This large, eye-catching effect with the many deaths, the results only if I use the formula wrong."
The Federal environmental Agency is, according to its own statement is open to criticism and want to check the application of the formula. The question was not whether the formula is wrong or right. Will doubted only whether it is also for the derivation of premature deaths used, as recommended by the WHO.
For this purpose, the Federal environment Agency’s standing with the American Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Seattle, which is in the field of burden of disease studies world leader and criticized formula also use. A final Position will take the UBA.
Morfeld calls for the report to withdraw
Prof. Morfeld calls for a reification of the Diesel debate. One had to clearly say that premature deaths could not be determined. Otherwise, you could be undermining the trust of citizens in politics and science, especially in view of upcoming diesel driving bans and the threat of financial losses for the Affected.
The Federal environment Agency, the epidemiologist asks, therefore, to withdraw his report to the 6000 premature deaths: "Sure this is a difficult step for the Federal environment Agency, but I think it is overdue."
The lung doctors, the former chief of the German society for pneumology Prof. Dieter Köhler corrected according to a report in the daily newspaper (taz) in the meantime, your opinion on health hazards caused by air pollutants.
Morfeld defended controversial lung doctor Köhler
Dieter Köhler, has conceded error in the calculation of the fine dust exposure of smokers or incorrect output values of the actual pollutant content of cigarettes. In a press release, Köhler, but defended the Thesis of the lungs doctors, according to the example of the Smoking pollutants with high pollutant loads, the assumptions of the Federal Environmental Agency, to health hazards from air in low doses.
Also the mathematician Peter Morfeld has reviewed the calculations of Prof. Köhler. The NDR Morfeld: " said;It is true that a computational error in the company’s own statements, made by Mr Köhler. However, this calculation error has no great relevance to the actual Argument, which he leads. This is more of a next sentence, in which this occurs. The actual logic of the entire argument is not affected thereby."
The number of pulmonary doctors who have signed the dissenting opinion to air pollutants, has now risen to around 130.