Germany’s Latest Media-Feigned “Nitrogen Dioxide” Hysteria Is Just Another “Dihydrogen-Monoxide” Moment

Now that it has been revealed German carmakers BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler had an organization test the effects of diesel fumes on monkeys, and in a separate test nitrogen dioxide on humans, Germany’s politicians and media are all falling over themselves feigning outrage and moral indignation.

Such fools.

Of course the media did not hesitate to make the tests on humans appear as if they were an extension of those done on monkeys when one in fact had absolutely nothing to do with the other. Today German politicians and activists seemingly are now trying to whip up mass hysteria in order to scandalize the country’s backbone industry into extinction.

German environment minister Barbara Hendricks called the tests “abominable”. Lower Saxony prime minister Stephan Weil condemned the tests as “absurd and disgusting”. Angela Merkel’s spokesman said the tests couldn’t be justified ethically and that the outrage “is completely understandable.”

Yet, when one looks closer at what really happened, much of the outrage is not understandable.

Approved by an ethics commission

As morally questionable as the tests on the ten monkeys might be, one has to ask if the mass hysteria unleashed among the German media is warranted. Using animals in scientific research is nothing new and is happening (legally) as I write.

As far as the tests on humans in Aachen, Germany are concerned, just how death-camp like were they? It turns out not at all. In fact they were even approved by an official Ethics Commission beforehand.

According to reports, the tests were done by the European Research Association for Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) association, which was set up by the German carmakers. The studies were conducted in 2013 and were not at all related to “dieselgate”.

In the study involving human subjects, the subjects were not even exposed to diesel exhaust, but rather to nitrogen dioxide. A video of an interview with the head of the study, Prof. Dr. Thomas Kraus, has been released and what follow below are the main points:

1. The objective of the study was to determine whether there exists a hazard from nitrogen dioxide levels at the workplace and to determine what would be an acceptably safe level over a 40-year employment time.

2. In the test researchers subjected 25 healthy volunteers to a nitrogen dioxide level of different concentrations for several hours at an institute at the University Hospital in Aachen. This was done to see if any biological effects would occur.

3. The tests used the most modern equipment and measurement systems where participants were subjected to moderately elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide.

4. The study had nothing to do with the current diesel exhaust scandal.

5. The tests have nothing to do with diesel exhaust and only nitrogen dioxide was used.

6. The researchers said they were not able to detect any “acute health effects” in the subjects.

7. Before the test was carried out, the Ethics Commission first thoroughly checked it over to see if it was ethical. The Commission gave the study the green light.

8. Everything was done, legally, ethically and safely.

1 single pack of cigarettes probably more dangerous

In other words, inhaling the by-products produced from smoking a pack of cigarettes, or even from tending to the charcoal grill for an hour at the Sunday barbecue, are likely far worse.

The Aachen human tests are a fake scandal, and just the latest incident of the German media’s obsession to scandalize anything and everything that moves and doesn’t move.

This reminds us of the spoof petition to ban “dihydrogen-monoxide” (H2O, or water for those living in California or Tübingen). Chemically “dihydrogen-monoxide” sounds evil and dangerous, and so within minutes dozens of students at university campuses were signing the petition to ban the compound– because they were too stupid to recognize what it really was.

The same is true with the nitrogen dioxide test in Aachen and the German media and politicians.

Unfortunately the German auto industry is just too spineless to fight back. Maybe they are well aware that America is now open for business, and that Germany is a lost cause and so not worth the fight.


17 responses to “Germany’s Latest Media-Feigned “Nitrogen Dioxide” Hysteria Is Just Another “Dihydrogen-Monoxide” Moment”

  1. Sean

    Nitrous oxides is laughing gas or N2O. Nitrogen dioxide when mixed with water will form nitric acid and is very dangerous. I suspect this was a laughing gas study.

    1. SebastianH

      No it wasn’t

  2. Nigel S

    The EPA really did test diesel fumes on humans and used the faked results to persecute diesel engines.

  3. Don from Oz

    I was taught at school that water is NOT H20 but HOH (hydrogen hydroxide) In a lab it is made by combining Hydrogen with Hydroxide and the molecular structure is an hydrogen atom bonded either side of an oxygen atom ie H-O-H.
    But it is good for a laugh at a gathering to call it Dihydrogen Monoxide and watch the horror on the faces of the unknowing.

    1. Ric Werme

      My usual method was to take some H2 mixed with diluted O2 (it was 79% N2) and apply a flame. The production of H2O was irrelevant, the production of the bang was the reward.

      1. yonason (from my cell phone)

        Oh yes, the good old days when profs were nuttier than the students,.

    2. Streetcred

      I just opened the sink tap for my regular dose of H2O 😉

  4. Lumpi

    The whole diesel scandal is a scandal itself because there is no danger from NO2 in the discussed concentrations. If you check the toxicological reports that the WHO is listing, an effect on lung functions of healthy humans is detectable only at concentrations > 7000 µg/m³. Asthmatics will notice effects from 500 µg/m³ on. There are many studies confirming these effects and the effects are light years away from being dangerous. You will notice an airway restriction which means breathing will get a bit harder.

    Now you might ask how can science & politicians claim that NO2 kills Hundreds of Thousands of people at 5 or 10 µg/m³. The simple answer is: This claim is dead wrong and completely unfounded. The claim does not come from clinical/toxicological studies because obviously people would have died during those studies. The claim comes from very, very, very bad statistics. They simply took the data of many dead people in one area with high NO2 concentrations and compared it to data from an area with lower concentration. The problem is that the concentration data comes from one(!) central measuring station. From there they calculate the concentration of every single dead person’s house at the front door by a computer model, even if it is kilometers away from the measurement. Then they suppose this person has seen exactly this calculated concentration all over his life. Whereas in reality this person just spends max. 10 seconds per day at this place and the other time in areas with 10% or 1.000% of this concnetration. Not to mention that there are uncertaintes of at least +/- 50% in the computer calculation itself because NO2 concentrations can drop 50% within a few meters.

    So the claim x µg/m³ NO2 causes y deaths is completely unscientific. Firstly because statistics never delivers causation and secondly x was never measured. Thus not even a correlation between x and y was established. Check out statistics world champion William Briggs on his blog He has serveral post about health studies for particles which follows the same fallacy. All dead wrong.

    In terms of NO2: Who is naive enough to believe a gas that causes harder breathing at 7000 µg will kill you at 5 µg? Only an epidemiologist! This is their claim: A completely undangerous gas at high concentrations becomes a poison at low concentrations just by statistics which do not even need to measure data. Laughable!!!

    Back to W. Briggs. When he told CARB that all those epidemiological reports associating deaths or whatever to particles or NO2 are using bad statistics and that their claims are dead wrong, CARB replied: “We know that. But since we accepted this fallacy before we have to accept it for all the other studies as well”.

    1. dennisambler

      Absolutely right, but it is used of course to further the anti-fossil fuel agenda. The Obama EPA used the Clean Air Act to pursue a war on coal. The “NoX from diesel cars” is being used to validate subsidies for EV’s, etc.

      “40,000 excess deaths” was the cry from the Royal College of Physicians in 2016, to demonise diesel, examined here by Euan Mearns:

      Epidemiology writ large…

  5. Lumpi

    If you want, you can check my more detailed explanation in German here:

  6. SebastianH

    It’s not about the “tests” itself. One can probably do something like that in a scientific fashion. What’s questionable is the intent. What did they want to prove with an experiment like that?

    Almost like skeptics coming up with the wildest excuses in order to celebrate fossil fossil fuel.

    1. Kenneth Richard

      Almost like skeptics coming up with the wildest excuses in order to celebrate fossil fossil fuel.

      Why would we skeptics need an excuse, let alone the “wildest” ones, to celebrate cheap, reliable, and abundant energy that has lifted billions of people out of poverty just in the last few decades alone? Why do you have a problem with the thriving mammalian populations, a greening planet, enhanced crop yields, easier travel in the Arctic…which are often associated with warmth and/or higher CO2 concentrations?

      1. SebastianH

        Neither cheap nor especially abundant. I like the way you try to see everything positive though … keep up the illusion 🙂

        1. AndyG55

          Yes, cheap, and VERY abundant.

          Fossil fuels have allowed for the development of EVERY developed nation in the world.

          We can see from America, that these fuels are CHEAP and PLENTIFUL.

          Why do you insist on living in your blinkered delusionary state.. a fantasy world of hallucinogenic anti-science dreams.

        2. Streetcred

          WOW, I can’t believe your ignorance, you must be kidding us ?

          1. AndyG55

            Believe me.. seb is truly and ABSOLUTELY…..


            Basically everything he thinks he knows…..


    2. M E

      1. The objective of the study was to determine whether there exists a hazard from nitrogen dioxide levels at the workplace and to determine what would be an acceptably safe level over a 40-year employment time.

      I think that would be the object of the study.
      since you ask-
      “It’s not about the “tests” itself. One can probably do something like that in a scientific fashion. What’s questionable is the intent. What did they want to prove with an experiment like that?”

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