For several years, advocates of electric vehicles (EVs) have been vociferous about their cost efficiency and eco-friendly features. Unlike common vehicles that emit huge amounts of toxic chemicals from consuming petrol and diesel, EVs exist to lessen pollution and advance our means of transportation. However, in terms of medical considerations, will doctors consider promoting electric cars for our health? Let’s find out why the specialists believe electric vehicles are better for our health.
The Essence of Having Non-Polluting Vehicles
Dust, gases, smoke, mist, smell, fog, and vapour are all examples of air pollutants. When these substances are present in the air for long enough, they can have negative health consequences.
Unfortunately, a high percentage of this pollution is produced by the huge volume of cars, vans and lorries on our roads. Unless we live in a fairly remote spot in the UK, we are going to be subjected to pollution from vehicles.
Who would have anticipated that the grey smoke coming from car exhausts would be a major contributor to air pollution? And just how dangerous that pollution is for our wellbeing!
Most people are exposed to air pollution through their lungs, as you probably know. Anyone breathing in these contaminants is putting their health at risk, as they can cause inflammatory processes, oxidative stress, immunosuppression, and teratogenic effects, all of which have negative effects on the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and central nervous system, among others.
Think about it: that’s scarier than the majority of horror films as the following story clearly evidences:
In December 2020, an inquest found that air pollution “made a material contribution” to the death of a nine-year-old girl.
In April 2021, a coroner called for a change in the law for national pollution limits to be reduced as a result of this case. It would be impossible to reduce existing limits without taking tens of thousands of petrol and diesel vehicles off the road. Of course, encouraging people to avoid using their cars in the first place and pedestrianising busy thoroughfares such as high streets will help, but EVs provide a huge part of the solution.
Let’s look at the story of nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah in more detail. It is a harrowing, but important story to fully appreciate why electric vehicles are better for our health.
Ella lived near the South Circular Road in Lewisham.
In 2010, when Ella was six, she was placed in a medically induced coma after a coughing fit became so bad she was admitted to hospital for the first time.
By the summer of 2012, Ella’a condition had deteriorated to such a degree she was classified as disabled.
Several times, she had asthma attacks and was admitted to hospital, barely breathing,
On 15 February 2013, Ella had a cardiac arrest following a severe asthma attack and died.
A 2018 report showed that levels of pollution near Ella’s home were unlawful and contributed to her fatal asthma attack.
While Ella’s case is tragic and traffic pollution was cited as a contributory factor in her death, there are probably millions of other people, especially babies, young children, and the elderly, whose lives are being adversely impacted by pollution caused by the traffic on our streets.
In 2021, a new report by Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation revealed that air pollution levels and the rise of childhood asthma cases are linked, with more than a quarter of a million children born in highly polluted areas, all with pollution levels that exceed the World Health Organisations. The research also showed evidence which suggests there is a strong correlation between air pollution and organ damage.
Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, Sarah Woolnough, said:
“How can it be acceptable that the first breath a baby takes could be so dirty it could seriously affect their long-term health?”
We know EVs are important for combating greenhouse gas emissions, and, ultimately, global warming, but clearly, electric vehicles are better for our health as they do not emit these toxic pollutants.
There’s no need to sacrifice comfort and style!
When EVs were first introduced, they certainly were not the most attractive or comfortable of vehicles. We still see tiny Smart cars around, which are often ideal in urban environments, but modern electric cars can even surpass their highly polluting predecessors in terms of style and comfort.
Take the Model 3 Tesla, for example. Yes, of course, it is a luxury car and there are lots of more affordable options available, but as one might expect from Elon Musk, the design of this EV includes many innovative features that provide both practicality and a fabulous driving experience.
Most other EV manufacturers are taking a similar approach by totally overhauling the spec of their new electric cars.
Without doubt, electric vehicles are better for our health. They are also better for the environment BUT there is a proviso: If your annual mileage is extremely low and your vehicle is reasonably fuel-efficient, and you do not really need a new car, do remember that every new vehicle has enormous amounts of embodied carbon i.e., the total of emissions that result from its production. It is estimated that a small electric car has about 14 tonnes CO2e. The larger the car, the larger the embodied carbon as discussed in our earlier article on the environmental benefits of electric cars.