The Federal Environmental Office (UBA) found out that the nitrogen oxide pollutants (NO2) emitted by diesel engines are extremely hazardous to human health and are the reason for thousands of premature deaths annually.
The study registered about 6,000 early deaths from cardiovascular diseases in 2014 which had been caused by NO2 pollution, UBA head Maria Krautzberger said Thursday.
Air pollution in Germany is mainly caused by diesel engines, which are currently at the center of a heated debate on driving bans.
According to Krautzberger, about one million people have become sick due high volumes of nitrogen oxide in the air, with the hazardous substance prompting eight percent of type two diabetes diseases and 14 percent of all asthma cases.
"The estimates that we are publishing are at the bottom end of the scale," the official said, cited by TheLocal.de. "We need to stay under the legal limits for NO2 pollution in the coming years and perhaps even go lower."
Last month a federal court ruled that German cities can ban old diesel engines from their streets. As a result, some cities like Hamburg and Düsseldorf may take corresponding restrictive measures in the near future.