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What Is Nitrogen Oxide and Why Is It So Dangerous?

In 2020, nitrogen oxide or NOx emissions in the UK was at 0.7 million metric tons. Although it significantly dropped due to COVID-19 restrictions that required everyone to stay home, the amount of emissions is still at a dangerous level.

Road transport, mostly passenger cars, is primarily responsible for nitrogen oxide emissions in the UK, with the total volume placed at 28%. NOx emissions also come from industrial and chemical processes, which utilise nitrites or nitric acid. It is also released through the burning of plant material. Plants have nitrogen, which is a significant component of NOx.

Nitrogen oxide described

The combustion of fossil fuel under high temperature and pressure produces a gas known as nitrogen oxide. NOx has NO or nitric oxide as its primary component. When NO reacts with other atmospheric gases, it forms NO2 or nitrogen dioxide. Once they interact and combine, they become NOx.

Nitrogen oxide has other molecules, but they are of smaller concentrations. One of these is N20 or nitrous oxide, a gas that is closely related to NO and NO2. It is an essential factor in the formation of greenhouse gases.

NOx is a danger to the environment.

It is a contributor to the formation of smog, a brown haze that covers cities, especially in the summer season. NOx also plays an essential role in the formation of acid rain, and when it interacts with VOC (volatile organic compounds), it forms the pollutant tropospheric or ground-level ozone. It can affect vegetation, particularly via oxidative damage. Plants and crops exposed to the emissions have stunted growth and become susceptible to frost.

NOx absorbed by the oceans often worsens algal blooms.

Nitrogen oxide has several negative impacts on human health.

Regular exposure to low levels of NOx can cause headaches, loss of appetite, eye irritation, corroded teeth, breathing problems, inflammation of the airways, asthma, aggravated asthma, and increased risk for allergens and respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and emphysema.

Constant exposure to high volumes of nitrogen oxide has the following effects:

  • Increased susceptibility to heart conditions and other cardiovascular issues
  • Increased susceptibility to certain cancers
  • Asphyxiation
  • Laryngospasm
  • Chronically reduced lung function and other lung issues
  • Premature death

The first case of premature death caused by air pollution in the UK involved a nine-year-old girl named Ella Kissi-Debrah. The young girl had been in and out of the hospital for 28 months for seizures and 28 visits due to breathing problems. She died in 2013 after a severe asthma attack. An inquest on her death was opened and in December 2020, the coroner ruled Ella’s death was caused by air pollution.

Ella and her mother Rosamund lived in Lewisham, south-east London, near the highly polluted South Circular Road.

Ella’s death has made the public more aware of the dangers of air pollution, although a lot of work still needs to be done, particularly when it comes to informing and educating the general population about toxic air.

Nitrogen oxide and the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal

The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal that broke in 2015 is considered one of the major contributors of air pollution, specifically NOx emissions.

In September that year, authorities at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Resources Board revealed allegations that Volkswagen knowingly fitted defeat devices into their diesel vehicles sold across the country.

Defeat devices are programmed to detect when a vehicle is in lab testing for emissions compliance. Once they do, these artificially reduce emissions levels so the amounts of toxic fumes expelled by the vehicles will stay within the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

When such a vehicle is taken for a drive in real-world road conditions however, the device makes the car or van revert to its default settings, resulting in the vehicle emitting alarming amounts of nitrogen oxide, which exceed the EU and WHO mandated levels.

Volkswagen initially denied the allegations but eventually admitted to installing the defeat devices. The scandal reached European and UK shores in no time. Not long after, other manufacturers were implicated in the scandal. The first carmaker added to the list was Mercedes-Benz.

The Mercedes emissions scandal involved thousands upon thousands of car owners in the US, UK, and Europe. The German carmaker has had to pay thousands in fines and compensation while also facing group litigations and recalling affected vehicles.

Why you should file a compensation claim

Volkswagen marketed and sold their diesel vehicles as safe, clean, and environment-friendly. Mercedes did the same thing, so like VW, they deceived to their customers. You deserve to be compensated for the inconvenience that this deception caused you.

File your Mercedes emissions claim with the help of a panel of emissions solicitors. It can be a long and challenging process, so having a team that has extensive experience in bringing to court and winning claims is the ideal thing to do.

Work with a panel of solicitors  that:

  • Is regulated
  • Knows the process like the back of their hands
  • Has a good winning record
  • Offers no-win-no-fee guarantee

You can find all these at Visit their website, discover if you are eligible, and start your diesel emissions claim now.

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