June 2000, representatives of the U.S. Congress announced that
biodiesel had become the first and only alternative fuel to have
successfully completed the Tier I and Tier II Health Effects testing
requirements of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The biodiesel
industry invested more than two million dollars and four years
into the health effects testing program with the goal of setting
biodiesel apart from other alternative fuels and increasing consumer
confidence in biodiesel.
first tier of health effects testing was conducted by Southwest
Research Institute and involved a detailed analysis of biodiesel
emissions. Tier II was conducted by Lovelace Respiratory Research
Institute, where a 90-day sub-chronic inhalation study of biodiesel
exhaust with specific health assessments was completed.
of the health effects testing concluded that biodiesel is non-toxic
and biodegradable, posing no threat to human health. Also among
the findings of biodiesel emissions compared to petroleum diesel
emissions in this testing:
The overall ozone (smog) forming potential of the speciated hydrocarbon
exhaust emissions from biodiesel is 50% less.
The exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide ( a poisonous gas and
a contributing factor in the localized formation of smog and ozone)
from biodiesel are 50% lower.
The exhaust emissions of particulate matter (recognized as a contributing
factor in respiratory disease) from biodiesel are 30% lower.
The exhaust emissions of sulfur oxides and sulfates (major components
of acid rain) from biodiesel are completely eliminated.
The exhaust emissions of hydrocarbons (a contributing factor in
the localized formation of smog and ozone) are 95% lower.
The exhaust emissions of aromatic compounds known as PAH and NPAH
compounds (suspected of causing cancer) are substantially reduced
for biodiesel compared to diesel. Most PAH compounds were reduced
by 75% to 85%. All NPAH compounds were reduced by at least 90%.
health effects testing results provide conclusive scientific evidence
using the most sophisticated technology available to validate
the existing body of testing data. The comprehensive body of biodiesel
data serves to demonstrate the significant benefits of biodiesel
to the environment and to public health. This will lead to increased
consumer confidence and increased use of biodiesel. Since the
majority of biodiesel is made from soybean oil, a promising new
market is materializing for soybeans.
: National Biodiesel Board, USA