BERLIN (AP) -- The Germany government says thousands of people die prematurely each year from the harmful effects of nitrogen dioxide, a gas that's also produced by diesel engines.
According to a study released Thursday by the Federal Office for the Environment, almost 6,000 people died prematurely in 2014 from illnesses that are known to be caused or aggravated by nitrogen dioxide, or NO2.
The study, conducted by the publicly funded Helmholtz Center Munich and private company IVU Umwelt GmbH, used widely accepted statistical models to determine how many deaths could be attributed to NO2.
It compared deaths from diabetes, asthma and other diseases with emissions records in cities and the countryside.
The study was published a week after a German court ruled that cities can ban the use of diesel cars as part of measures to improve air quality.