Health Benefits Study 2.0

Clean Fuels, through its continued partnership with Trinity Consultants, released the results of Phase 2 of a groundbreaking study on the air quality benefits of biodiesel – especially in the context of underserved Environmental Justice communities. The latest study from Trinity Consultants, conducted on 15 high-risk air quality communities coast-to-coast, reinforces that switching to biodiesel results in substantial health benefits. Specifically, the benefits include decreased cancer risk, fewer premature deaths, reduced asthma attacks and fewer lost workdays. B100 can achieve these benefits by reducing pollution in applications among the hardest to decarbonize – heavy-duty transportation and residential heating.

The Trinity study found that replacing diesel fuel with biodiesel in Washington D.C. alone could reduce the symptoms of asthma (such as needing to use an inhaler) by over 13,000 incidents per year. It also found that annual lost workdays could be reduced by 5,700, representing $1.5 million in economic activity. Overall, the economic benefit of improved health in the D.C. area would total $262 million each year.

Combining Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the study, researchers found that switching to 100% biodiesel in the 28 transportation and home heating oil sectors studied would provide immediate community health improvements that include the following:

  • More than 456,000 fewer/reduced asthma cases per year
  • More than 141,000 fewer sick days per year
  • Cancer cases reduced by nearly 9,500 (over a 70-year timeframe)
  • The prevention of more than 910 premature deaths per year
  • A total of $7.7 billion in avoided health costs annually
  • A 45% reduction in cancer risk when legacy heavy-duty trucks such as older semis use B100, and an 86% reduced risk when biodiesel is used for home heating oil, known as Bioheat® fuel.

The study used standard EPA air dispersion modeling tools, along with well-established health risk assessments and benefit valuations, to calculate the public health benefits and resulting economic savings of switching from petroleum diesel to 100% biodiesel (B100) in transportation and heating uses. Expanding on Phase 1, completed last year, the report focused on communities in Phoenix; Las Vegas; Houston; Detroit; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Chicago; St. Louis; Indianapolis; Cleveland/Akron/Canton, Ohio; Boston; Buffalo, New York; Port of Elizabeth, New York/New Jersey; Charlotte, North Carolina; Philadelphia and the District of Columbia.

The majority of the sites are named in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report as among the “most polluted cities.”

Sponsored by Clean Fuels, the study was conducted by Trinity Consultants, a company with over 40 years of experience conducting air dispersion modeling and related health risk assessments. The two-phase study was supported by the Nebraska Soybean Board, South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, California Advanced Biofuels Alliance, Iowa Soybean Association, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association, Ohio Soybean Council, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Pennsylvania Soybean Board, New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association, Eastern Region Soybean Board and New Jersey Soybean Board.

Biodiesel Study Highlights Fuel’s Ability to Make Impact: NOW

Clean Fuels Alliance America, in partnership with Trinity Consultants, recently launched a new, landmark study sharing the mounting evidence that shows how biodiesel can move the needle on an issue important to all Americans – their health. This research shows that using B100 — or pure biodiesel — can have positive impacts on both the environment and our health. These health benefits from the switch to better, cleaner biodiesel include decreased cancer risk, fewer premature deaths and reduced asthma attacks. Saving lives by reducing the health impacts of transportation and home heating fuels is a priority, and biodiesel is widely available today to achieve that goal.

"We have always known that biodiesel offers a better and cleaner alternative to petroleum diesel," Clean Fuels Alliance America CEO Donnell Rehagen said. "This study quantifies the health benefits and shows that by using renewable fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel, we are bringing positive change to people's lives, the nation's health and the economy."

The study was conducted in 13 sites and communities in the U.S. that are regularly exposed to high rates of petroleum diesel pollution.

Key findings include:

  • Switching to 100% biodiesel in the home heating oil and transportation sectors would:
    • Prevent 340 premature deaths annually.
    • Result in 46,000 fewer sick days.
  • In the transportation sector, benefits included a potential 45% reduction in cancer risk when heavy-duty trucks such as semis use B100 and 203,000 fewer or lessened asthma attacks.
  • When Bioheat® fuel made from 100% biodiesel is used in place of petroleum heating oil, the study found an 86% reduced cancer risk and 17,000 fewer lung problems.

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