Contrary to claims by Kenneth Feinberg, settlement administrator for the VW diesel emissions fraud, scientific evidence says people will die from VW’s illegal emissions.
Kenneth Feinberg, settlement administrator hired by Volkswagen to compensate owners harmed in the company’s diesel emissions scandal, is saying the settlement process should be less emotional than other cases because there have been no casualties. Interviewed by NPR’s Renee Montagne on Jan 20, Feinberg remarked, “unlike GM or 9/11 or even the BP oil rig explosion, we do not have a situation here involving death. This is an automobile fix.” Feingold made a similar statement to noted settlement specialist and plaintiff’s advocate Mark Wahlstrom; it has also been reported by The New York Times.
Remarks Jonathan Perloe, founder of VW Sham, “It is categorically untrue that VW’s emissions fraud will not result in death or physical harm.” Perloe points to an October 2015 study led by MIT and Harvard University researchers estimates that 60 people in the U.S. will die 10 to 20 years prematurely as a result of exposure to VW’s illegal emissions. Thousands more will suffer short-term health consequences. In total, the study projects nearly one-half billion dollars in health and societal costs in the U.S. alone. Daniel Kammen, editor-in-chief of the journal in which the results were published, Environmental Research Letters, says the study offers a “rigorous evaluation of the scale of the impacts, which are potentially exceedingly serious.”
In yet another measure of VW’s depravity, the company released a statement in response to the study, claiming "We have received no confirmed reports that the emissions from such vehicles may cause any actual health problem.” VW stated there is no verification of the link between NOX emissions and negative health consequences.
While precise measures are difficult to estimate, the association between NO2 and other nitrous oxide pollutants (collectively termed NOX) to mortality and other deleterious health outcomes is well documented in scientific literature.
On its website the EPA states the small particles formed by NOX “penetrate deeply into sensitive parts of the lungs and can cause or worsen respiratory disease, such as emphysema and bronchitis, and can aggravate existing heart disease, leading to increased hospital admissions and premature death” (emphasis ours). In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates that the UK death rate is 4% higher due to nitrogen dioxide pollution – around 23,500 extra deaths per year. Beyond health impacts, DEFRA reports “a massive cost to society – around £13 billion per year.”
Volkswagen’s continued denial of its substantial harm to the environment and individuals needs to be challenged. VW Sham believes consumers, regulators and health experts must demand maximum accountability and punitive damages for VW. Says Perloe, “We want to ensure that no industrial giant again knowingly harms people such as Volkswagen has done.”
VW Sham was launched when Jonathan Perloe—owner of two VW TDI “clean diesel” vehicles—learned about the massive fraud perpetrated by Volkswagen. With a series of custom designed car magnets, the company allows VW owners to express their outrage at the company’s deception. The venture has been featured in national media including Fortune.com, Mashable and the NPR Marketplace Morning Report. In recognition of its central role in exposing VW’s conspiracy, VW Sham contributes 10 percent of its net sales to the International Council on Clean Transportation. Founder and owner Perloe is a communications strategist with a leading New York City ad agency and an advocate for progressive causes.
VW Sham can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VWsham, its handles on Twitter and Instagram are @VWsham