Relative Danger of Energy Sources
2. How many will die this decade from
automobile/airplane/train/bus accidents in
US? Are there other health effects from flying and driving?
< 100 100 –
– 10,000 10,000 -
100,000 > 100,000
Department of Transportation (Motor
Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatality Counts and Estimates of People Injured
in 2005, pdf) estimates 43,443 died in vehicle crashes in 2005, and
2.7 million were injured.
600 Americans died in airplane
crashes in 2005, though only 22 on large commercial airlines.
studies exist on the health effects of flying. Ozone
levels can exceed EPA air quality standards. Women flight
attendants are more likely than other women to suffer from respiratory
disease. Rats have high mortality rates when exposed to jet lag,
particularly elderly rats (but rats who experience the jet lag only
when young? We must wait for another study.) The House Institute in Los
Angeles estimates one
in three passengers suffers from aerotitus,
ear discomfort, pain, or even temporary hearing loss.
The same number of accidents would occur no matter whether we used
biofuels or plug-in hybrids. The answer to this question will not
affect energy choice, but gives an idea of a large number of deaths we
take for granted, and puts in perspective what we accept as potential
and actual deaths from energy sources.
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