We Have a Health Problem with Our Fuel

We Have a Health Problem with Our Fuel

Des Moines, Iowa , January 31, 2018:  Ethanol is a needed tool when it comes to reducing carcinogens in the air we breathe, making people healthier and reducing cancer rates. That’s the message a world renowned cancer research doctor shared at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit this week. Dr. Zigang Dong with the Hormel Institute spoke on the panel ‘Is Your Fuel Killing You?’

Dr. Dong went on to say that he believes more ethanol in the fuel supply can help prevent cancer because of its ability to replace the most carcinogenic compounds in gasoline, aromatics like benzene and toluene. Right now consumer gasoline contains at least 25% aromatics, toxins that are known for severely harming our health.  The Urban Air Initiative has known this for years and has been gathering research and raising awareness on the dangers of aromatics and how ethanol can help improve the air we breathe.

This IRFA Summit panel reinforced the work we’ve been doing and why it’s so important for consumers to have access to higher ethanol blends. Another panelist, Dr. Steffen Mueller with the Energy Resource Center at the University of Illinois-Chicago even pointed out the work Urban Air is doing to fix the MOVES Model, or Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator.  Updating the MOVES model to accurately reflect ethanol’s emission benefits will go a long way for access to higher blends.

Dr. Mueller has published several studies reinforcing the fact that ethanol reduces toxic tailpipe emissions. “Ethanol is a much better solution for fuel, it provides a dramatic difference in decreasing air toxins.”  He says the work being done by scientists and groups like Urban Air are helping move the needle with decision makers.

For instance, the EPA recently conceded there are compelling reasons to further regulate aromatics and we have not been shy to remind them they not only have the authority to do so but are also required to reduce these toxics. Provisions in the Clean Air Act direct the agency to control aromatics to the greatest degree possible. The Agency has even acknowledged that ethanol is a viable alternative. “We appreciate the work that scientists like Dr. Dong and Dr. Mueller have done to help prove ethanol’s health benefits. It’s going to take everyone working together to provide the data needed to show EPA that more accurate science exists and to start accepting it,” said Urban Air Technical Director Steve Vander Griend.

We are so glad the conversation is growing about ethanol being a cleaner and healthier fuel that protects public health. Kudos to the Iowa RFA for putting this panel together. We will continue working on the regulatory, research and education fronts to make the fuel changes needed to protect public health.