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Volkswagen Emissions Scandal May Cause Premature Death of 1,200 in Europe, MIT says [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 08, 2017 10:13 PM EST

A new study by a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University puts the number of early deaths caused by excess emissions of Volkswagen cars in Germany at 1,200. The company confessed to rigging the results of emission tests for 11 million diesel-engine cars sold worldwide from 2008 to 2015.

In Germany alone, 2.6 million cars were affected which prompted authorities to demand the recall and repair of all vehicles sold. The cars were fitted with software to cheat the emissions test, allowing it to meet standards.

Also known as the "Dieselgate", the incident involved Volkswagen automobiles emitting excess levels of nitrogen oxides 20 times above the legal limit in the U.S. where standards are rigorous. German authorities found that the cars went beyond the maximum level allowed by five times. Volkswagen had to reserve a fund amounting to $19.2 billion for the problem. It was also ordered to pay up to $4.3 billion by US regulators over its 2015 emissions scandal, the Huffington Post reports.

The scientists investigated the effects of air pollution caused by high levels of nitrogen oxides on the lives of people in populations of Europe. MIT explained that Volkswagen would be responsible for 700 premature deaths in France, Poland and the Czech Republic, and 500 in Germany.

The recall of cars is on-going. The company could avoid as many as 2,600 more early deaths if they successfully repair all affected cars by the end of the year. Health costs from respiratory and cardiopulmonary diseases could reach billions of euros, according to the New York Times.

The team of researchers is looking at studying the excess emissions of every manufacturer. After the Environmental Protection Agency implied that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also used a test-recognition software in over 100,000 cars, more automakers are expected to be involved as well.

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