Excess Volkswagen emissions may cause 60 premature U.S. deaths, according to MIT and Harvard researchers

If every affected vehicle is recalled by 2016, additional deaths could be avoided.

In September the Environmental Protection Agency found out Volkswagen had installed “defeat devices’’ in its diesel vehicles.
In September the Environmental Protection Agency found out Volkswagen had installed “defeat devices’’ in its diesel vehicles. –EPA / Julian Straten Schulte

Emissions from Volkswagen vehicles involved in a September recall will contribute to at least 60 premature deaths in the U.S., MIT News reports, citing a new joint MIT and Harvard study.

The German car company installed software in the vehicles that enabled the cars to sense when an emissions test was in progress and only then fully engage the emissions-control system, which was otherwise disabled during normal driving.

The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, concluded that about 60 people in the U.S. will die 10 to 20 years early due to the emissions. However, if the automaker fails to recall all of the affected vehicles by the end of 2016, more deaths may occur, according MIT news.

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“If nothing’s done, these excess emissions will cause around another 140 deaths. However, two-thirds of the total deaths could be avoided if the recalls could be done quickly, in the course of the next year,’’ Barrett explained.

Read the MIT News story here.

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