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 – 1,000           1,000 – 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.

Few 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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