NOx and Ozone Health Impacts

A study published in 2021 by the Harvard School of Public Health found that in 2017, light-duty vehicles, which are almost entirely powered by gasoline, accounted for over 50% of NOx emissions and over 75% of VOC emissions from all mobile sources. The study found that light-duty NOx emissions are responsible for 40% of the light-duty PM 2.5 emissions. PM 2.5 emissions are the most serious health threat of the common air pollutants. The study stated that to reduce the health impacts of transportation, light duty vehicles are an attractive target because they cause the majority of the public health burden.

The EPA has verified that Cat-a-Pass™ reduces harmful pollutants from cars by up to 75% for at least 70,000 miles. Reducing VOCs and NOx reduces the formation of ozone and PM 2.5, both of which cause significant respiratory issues.

The American Lung Association provides the following information on NOx.

What Are the Health Effects (of NOx)?

Nitrogen dioxide causes a range of harmful effects on the lungs, including:

  • Increased inflammation of the airways;
  • Worsened cough and wheezing;
  • Reduced lung function;
  • Increased asthma attacks; and
  • Greater likelihood of emergency department and hospital admissions.

New research warns that NO2 is likely to be a cause of asthma in children.

Where Do High NO2 Concentrations Occur?

Monitors show the highest concentrations of outdoor NO2 in large urban regions such as the Northeast corridor, Chicago and Los Angeles. Levels are higher on or near heavily traveled roadways.

The 2019 NJ Energy Master Plan states that mobile sources are responsible for 71% of NJ’s NOx pollution.

The EPA has estimated that for every $1 spent to reduce pollutants from vehicles, there are $9 in benefits to health care costs, the environment and productivity.