A couple of weeks ago I wrote a LinkedIn article about the diesel particulate filter (DPF) blocking & costing the consumer £1,000’s to fix. And how us diesel vehicle owners have been hoodwinked by the manufacturers. But I didn’t realise your health could be at risk too. You can read it here.

And I compared the situation to the sponge inside our small organisation managed print service. Which over time fills up & the printer stops working, throwing up an error message ‘ink well full’. In fairness and knowing the full facts, this comparison is completely wrong. As when it comes to the failure of the DPF, it’s a health issue & potentially lives are at risk.

To be honest I wrote it out of sheer frustration. With a strong feeling the diesel vehicle manufacturers have not been honest with us consumers. And I wanted to warn anyone who have a diesel vehicle or buying one.

Turns out I’ve uncovered a cover up & this thing is a massive global health issue. And here’s why…

The facts

On the back of my LinkedIn article Eric Keogh made contact. It turns out Eric is a renowned global expert on emissions and runs a business called Impact Global Emission Solutions. Who focus on helping organisations all over the world to reduce emissions.

Eric told me this. “Darren it’s a whole lot worse than you think. If the DPF (diesel particulate filter) doesn’t get hot enough to oxidize particulates (clean the bad stuff). It then acts as a sieve and not a filter creating a whole load of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC) & nano-particles (bad stuff) that’s released into air.”

Eric then confirmed what I had been thinking and said “DPF’s don’t work properly. If they did the filter wouldn’t block. Oxidation efficiency is very low and on carbon mass balance basis. And if its not oxidized the pollutants are just converted to genotoxic and carcinogenic substances (bad stuff).”

It also seems the European Commission recently announced it has opened an investigation into whether BMW, Daimler and VW colluded to avoid competition on the development and roll-out of technology to clean the emissions of petrol and diesel cars. So it seems the net is starting to close in for the vehicle manufacturers.

And you can read more about how the car industry may have conspired to prevent people from breathing clean air, in this very recent article by Client Earth here.

What about the authorities?

This is being taking really seriously. And in the USA some parties have already lodged law-suites with the courts.

But in Europe (including the UK) we have a big problem to overcome. European regulations stop measurements of particle matter at 23nm. So smaller particle matter (which is the worst stuff) just pass through the DPF and into the air, allowing us to breathe in genotoxic & carcinogenic substances (potentially effecting our health) without knowledge or recourse.

Unless the European law changes (or the UK Government change it after Brexit) we (the consumer) will carry on breathing in these extremely bad substances. And at the moment the only thing we can hold the vehicle manufacturers accountable to is the fact that the DPF is not ‘fit for purpose’. Because they block during normal driving conditions.

Eric also tells me that the UK Government, European Union & Environmental Protection Agency may be aware of the problems and could be brushing it under the carpet & ignoring it, exacerbating the underlying problem due to potential economic risks.

Recent academic research presented at the ETH Zurich Nanoparticles Conference has for the 1st time provided substantial Scientific research confirming the environmental and health risks that these after-treatment systems are causing in real world use, and that they need to be closely examined.

My conclusion

My findings are worse than I originally thought. In 2001 Gordon Brown (the then chancellor) said diesel engines where cleaner than petrol engines and introduced tax breaks to entice us all to switch to diesel technology (read it here).

Oh how wrong can someone be. Not only are diesel engines dirty but they clearly produce & release much more harmful substances than just CO2. It goes far beyond us having to pay out £1,000’s to replace malfunctioning DPF’s.

Personally I feel both lied to and shocked. Knowing that the UK government & car manufacturers seem not to be bothered and happy to just brush this extremely toxic situation under the carpet. Without a thought for our health and well being, let alone the planet.

And if you are a diesel vehicle owner (now you know the facts) how do you feel? And who do you think should pay for this situation?