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Ethanol Could Be Damaging for Human Health, New Study Says

Ethanol, obtained from vegetable sources, is touted as a more eco-friendly fuel, than petroleum products. But a new study says that widespread// use of ethanol could actually pose a threat to human health.

Ethanol, the wonder fuel, may not be that eco-friendly after all. The journey for ever is hitting some bumps. For a new study at the Stanford University in the US shows that it could be damaging to human health.

Atmospheric scientist Mark Z. Jacobson says that if every vehicle in the United States is powered by fuel made primarily from ethanol instead of gasoline, there would likely be an increase in the number of respiratory-related deaths and hospitalizations.

The study is in the April 18 online edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Jacobson used a computer model to simulate what air quality conditions in the United States would be in 2020, if there was widespread use of vehicles fueled by E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

Ethanol is produced from renewable resources such as corn or sorghum and can be blended with gasoline as a 10% (E10) or 85% (E98) blend.

When 15% gasoline is blended with 85% ethanol, a fuel called E85 is created and can be used in vehicles classified by automobile manufacturers as Flexible Fuel Vehicles.

'We found that E85 vehicles reduce atmospheric levels of two carcinogens, benzene and butadiene, but increase two others - formaldehyde and acetaldehyde,' Jacobson said in a prepared statement. 'As a result, cancer rates for E85 are likely to be similar to those for gasoline. However, in some parts of the country, E85 significantly increased ozone, a prime ingredient of smog.'

The computer model showed ozone increases in Los Angeles and the northeastern U.S. , but a decrease of ozone in the southeast.

'In our study, E85 increased ozone-related mortalities in the United States by about 200 deaths per yea
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