EPE launches Technical Note Impacts on Human Health of Biofuels Use in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region

Environmental air pollution generates relevant health problems that affect especially the portion of the population that lives in large urban centers. The World Health Organization (WHO, 2019) estimates that air pollution in cities and rural areas annually causes 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide (2016 data). This mortality is mainly due to exposure to particulate materials, small particles with a diameter of less than or equal to 2.5 micron (mm) (PM2.5), which are related to the occurrence of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as to several types of cancer. 

WHO estimates that in 2016, 58% of premature deaths related to environmental air pollution were caused by ischemic heart disease and stroke, 18% were caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute lower respiratory infections, while 6% can be attributed to lung cancer1 . Particulate matter is associated with an increased incidence of cancer, especially lung cancer, according to an assessment carried out in 2013 by the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). An association has also been observed between outdoor air pollution and increased urinary tract/bladder cancer (WHO, 2019). 

Most sources of air pollution are far beyond the control of individuals, as pointed out by the WHO, which requires coordinated action by policymakers at the local, national and regional levels, in the different sectors involved: transport, energy, management of waste, urban planning and agriculture. 

Seeking to contribute with relevant studies to support public policies focused on energy, the Energy Research Office (EPE) prepared an assessment of the impact on human health resulting from the use of biofuels in the transport sector. 

This study will use the methodology described by the WHO, in its AirQ+ manuals, applying it to the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo (RMSP), chosen for the study due to the availability of data, with emphasis on the atmospheric pollution inventory (CETESB, 2018). For this, two macroanalyses will be carried out, the first focusing on the use of ethanol in light vehicles and the second on the addition of ester-based biodiesel to diesel B.

It should be noted that, although other pollutants also cause significant impacts on human health, this analysis will focus only on particulate matter, especially PM 2.5, which causes the greatest effect of all. The simulations ran are based on the 2018 RMSP fleet, the year in which the measurements were recorded.

Notícias Relacionadas

Fact Sheet: Energy Efficiency Concepts

27/09/2022 - After all, what is energy efficiency? What are the limitations of using energy intensity to measure efficiency gains? What effects influence energy consumption?

MME launches English version of the Ten-Year Energy Expansion Plan (PDE) 2031

05/09/2022 - The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and the Energy Research Company (EPE) publish, this Monday (09/05), the first English version of the Ten-Year Energy Expansion Plan (PDE) 2031.

EPE publishes August 2022 Brazil’s Short-Term Fuel Market Outlook

12/08/2022 - Brazilian fuel demand is forecast to maintain its recovery trajectory throughout 2022, surpassing 2019 demand levels this year.

EPE releases new report on how fuel prices are formed in Brazil

11/08/2022 - ​Understanding Fuel Pricing in Brazil report is part of the Fuel Pricing Series and was originally released in Portuguese by EPE in July 2021.

EPE publishes June 2022 Brazil’s Short-Term Fuel Market Outlook

10/06/2022 - Brazilian liquid fuel market continued its strong performance at the beginning of 2022 with an increase of 2.2% in January through April compared to the same period last year. This growth has been driven mainly by diesel, gasoline, and jet.