The Nexus of Biofuels,
Climate Change,
and Human Health

WORKSHOP SUMMARY

Robert Pool, Rapporteur

Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine

Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice

INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
              OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

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Robert Pool, Rappor P rteur Roundtable on Env d vironmental Health Science Research and Medicin H es, h, ne Board on Population He ealth and Pub Health Pr blic ractice

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The workshop that is the subject of this workshop summary was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This activity was supported by contracts between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, The Kresge Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive Company, ExxonMobil Foundation, and Royal Dutch Shell. The views presented in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the activity. This summary is based on the proceedings of a workshop that was sponsored by the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine. It is prepared in the form of a workshop summary by and in the name of the rapporteur as an individually authored document. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-29241-2 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-29241-7 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu. For more information about the Institute of Medicine, visit the IOM home page at: www.iom.edu. Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America The serpent has been a symbol of long life, healing, and knowledge among almost all cultures and religions since the beginning of recorded history. The serpent adopted as a logotype by the Institute of Medicine is a relief carving from ancient Greece, now held by the Staatliche Museen in Berlin. Suggested citation: IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2014. The nexus of biofuels, climate change, and human health: Workshop summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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The National Acade emy of Scienc is a privat nonprofit, self-perpetuati ces te, ing society of distinguish scholars en y hed ngaged in scien ntific and engin neering researc ch, dedicat to the furth ted herance of scie ence and technnology and to their use for t the general welfare. Upo the authority of the charte granted to it by the Congre l on y er ess in 1863, the Academ has a man my ndate that req quires it to ad dvise the fedeeral governnment on scie entific and tecchnical matter Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is rs. h preside of the Natio Academy of Sciences. ent onal The National Acade emy of Engin neering was e established in 1964, under t the charter of the Natio r onal Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstan nding engineers It is autonom s. mous in its adm ministration and in the selecti d ion of its members, sh haring with the National Academy o Sciences t of the responssibility for adv vising the fede governme The Natio eral ent. onal Academy of Engineeering also sponsors engine eering program aimed at m ms meeting nation nal needs, encourages education and research, a and recognize the superior es achieveements of eng gineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr. is president of the Nation ., nal Academ of Engineer my ring. The Institute of Med dicine was estaablished in 197 by the Natio 70 onal Academy of Science to secure th services of eminent memb es he bers of approp priate professio ons in the examination of policy matter pertaining to the health of the public. T e rs o f The Institut acts under th responsibilit given to the National Acad te he ty demy of Scienc ces by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal gover c c n e rnment and, up pon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical car research, an education. D n i re, nd Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. y t f The Na ational Resea arch Council was organized by the Natio w d onal Academy of Science in 1916 to associate the broad commun of science and technolo es b nity e ogy with th Academy’s purposes of fu he urthering knowwledge and advvising the fede eral governnment. Function ning in accordance with gene policies determined by t eral the Academ the Counc has become the principal operating age my, cil e l ency of both tthe National Academy of Sciences an the Nationa Academy of Engineering in o nd al f providiing services to the govern t nment, the pu ublic, and the scientific a e and engineeering commu unities. The Council is a C administered jjointly by bo oth Academ and the Institute of Me mies edicine. Dr. Ra alph J. Ciceron and Dr. C. D. ne Mote, Jr., are chair and vice cha respective air, ely, of the Na ational Resear rch Counci il. w www.national l-academies.o org .

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PLANNING COMMITTEE FOR THE WORKSHOP ON THE NEXUS OF BIOFUELS, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND HUMAN HEALTH1 JOHN M. BALBUS, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD DENNIS J. DEVLIN, ExxonMobil Corporation, Irving, TX ALISTAIR FRASER, Royal Dutch Shell, The Hague, The Netherlands LYNN R. GOLDMAN, George Washington University, Washington, DC BERNARD D. GOLDSTEIN, University of Pittsburgh, PA AL MCGARTLAND, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC ANNE M. SWEENEY, Texas A&M University, College Station G. DAVID TILMAN, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 1 Institute of Medicine planning committees are solely responsible for organizing the workshop, identifying topics, and choosing speakers. The responsibility for the published workshop summary rests with the workshop rapporteur and the institution. v

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ROUNDTABLE ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES, RESEARCH, AND MEDICINE1 FRANK LOY (Chair), Washington, DC LYNN R. GOLDMAN (Vice-Chair), George Washington University, Washington, DC HENRY A. ANDERSON, Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Madison JOHN M. BALBUS, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD JAMES K. BARTRAM, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill LINDA S. BIRNBAUM, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC LUZ CLAUDIO, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY DENNIS J. DEVLIN, ExxonMobil Corporation, Irving, TX RICHARD A. FENSKE, University of Washington, Seattle ALISTAIR FRASER, Royal Dutch Shell, The Hague, The Netherlands LUIZ A. GALVÃO, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC BERNARD D. GOLDSTEIN, University of Pittsburgh, PA RICHARD J. JACKSON, University of California, Los Angeles SUZETTE M. KIMBALL, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA JAY LEMERY, University of Colorado, Denver ANDREW MAGUIRE, Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, DC LINDA A. MCCAULEY, Emory University, Atlanta, GA AL MCGARTLAND, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC DAVID M. MICHAELS, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC CANICE NOLAN, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium MARTIN A. PHILBERT, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor CHRISTOPHER J. PORTIER, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 1 Institute of Medicine forums and roundtables do not issue, review, or approve individual documents. The responsibility for the published workshop summary rests with the workshop rapporteur and the institution. vii

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PAUL SANDIFER, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Charleston, SC JOHN D. SPENGLER, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA LOUIS W. SULLIVAN, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA ANNE M. SWEENEY, Texas A&M University, College Station G. DAVID TILMAN, University of Minnesota, St. Paul PATRICIA VERDUIN, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Piscataway, NJ NSEDU OBOT WITHERSPOON, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Washington, DC HAROLD ZENICK, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC IOM Staff CHRISTINE COUSSENS, Study Director (until August 2013) ERIN RUSCH, Associate Program Officer ANDRÉS GAVIRIA, Research Associate SUSANNE LANDI, Research Associate ANDREW LEMERISE, Research Associate HOPE HARE, Administrative Assistant ROSE MARIE MARTINEZ, Director, Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice viii

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Reviewers This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published summary as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this workshop summary: Al McGartland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Martin A. Philbert, University of Michigan School of Public Health Judith Qualters, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the workshop summary before its release. The review of this summary was overseen by Susan J. Curry, The University of Iowa. Appointed by the Institute of Medicine, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this workshop summary was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this summary rests entirely with the rapporteur and the institution. ix

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Contents PREFACE xiii 1 OVERVIEW 1 Biofuels, Greenhouse Gases, and Land Use, 1 Biofuels in the Context of the Larger Energy Picture, 10 Industry Perspective, 18 Discussion, 25 References, 27 2 CASE STUDY: THE PALM OIL EXAMPLE 29 The Malaysian Palm Oil Industry, 29 Palm Oil as a Biofuel, 30 Environmental Impacts of Palm Oil, 32 Occupational Health Hazards in the Palm Oil Industry, 33 Discussion, 34 References, 36 3 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND BIOFUELS PRODUCTION 37 Risks Associated with Biofuels, 37 Ensuring Health and Safety in Biofuels Production, 40 Discussion, 44 References, 45 4 BIOFUELS IMPACT ON AIR, ATMOSPHERE, AND HEALTH 47 Biodistallate Fuels and Emissions, 47 Regional Impacts of Biofuels on Health and Climate Change in Brazil, 56 References, 65 5 WATER USE, WATER POLLUTION, AND BIOFUELS 67 Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States, 67 Water Quality: Corn Versus Switchgrass, 75 References, 83 xi

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xii CONTENTS 6 IMPLICATIONS OF BIOFUELS FOR LAND USE AND HEALTH 85 Life-Cycle Assessments of Biofuels Use on Land and Air Quality, 85 Forest Management and Forest-Based Bioenergy Initiatives, 95 Discussion, 98 References, 99 7 ETHICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES 101 Ethical Issues Relating to Biofuels, 101 Socioeconomic Effects of Biofuels Development, 107 Discussion, 116 References, 119 8 BIOFUELS AND FOOD SECURITY ISSUES 121 Biofuels and the World Food Economy, 121 Domestic Food and Biofuels Issues, 127 Discussion, 131 References, 135 9 ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH POLICIES AND OPPORTUNITIES 137 A Framework for Assessing Health Impacts of Biofuels, 137 A Sustainability Assessment Methodology, 141 A Call for Health Impact Assessments, 147 Discussion, 150 References, 151 10 GOVERNMENT PERSPECTIVES ON BIOFUELS AND HUMAN HEALTH 153 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 153 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 155 U.S. Department of Agriculture, 157 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 160 Discussion, 163 Reference, 165 11 CLOSING SESSION 167 APPENDIXES A AGENDA 169 B SPEAKER BIOSKETCHES 175

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Preface On January 24–25, 2013, the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a 2-day, interactive, public workshop on the intersection of biofuels, climate change, and human health. Liquid fuels are a major part of modern life. They supply energy for ground, water, and air transportation as well as power for industrial and farming machinery. But fossil fuels—the dominant liquid fuel in use for well over a century—have many disadvantages. For one thing, the use of fossil fuels has obvious health downsides, such as emissions of pollutants that are directly harmful to health. The burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, itself a long-term threat to human health. There have also been health concerns related to insecurity of liquid fuel supplies and the potential of international conflicts being caused by fuel scarcity. Furthermore, there are concerns that the world’s large but still limited supply of fossil fuels could be strained by the increasing demand that results from societies around the world achieving greater prosperity. In the face of these concerns, new policies have been created that encourage the development of renewable sources of energy in general and biofuels in particular. In November 2007 the roundtable held a workshop titled “Environmental Health, Energy, and Transportation: Bringing Health to the Fuel Mixture.” Workshop attendees explored public health issues related to the composition of traditional and alternative fuels and fuel additives, and they discussed the known and potential health impacts associated with the use of these fuels and fuel additives. Since 2007, the development of renewable biofuel resources has increased dramatically, both in quantity and in the types of fuels being developed. Newer approaches to evaluation of health impacts—those that incorporate health impact assessment in a broader framework of decision making as well as those that address sustainability—have also developed. Two recent reports by the National Research Council, Improving Health in the xiii

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xiv PREFACE United States: The Role of Health Impact Assessment1 and Sustainability and the U.S. EPA,2 have helped to illuminate these issues. However, they have yet to be applied to biofuels. Hence, the workshop that is summarized in these pages, titled “The Nexus of Biofuels Energy, Climate Change, and Health,” focused on air, water, land use, food, and social impacts of biofuels as an energy resource. The workshop’s invited speakers described the state of the science and the health policy implications of using different types (and generations) of biofuels as an energy source. The workshop was part of a series of workshops focused on current and emerging environmental issues and their impacts on human health. These workshops are sponsored by the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine. The roundtable was established to provide a mechanism for parties from the academic, industrial, and federal research perspectives to meet and discuss sensitive and difficult environmental health issues in a neutral scientific setting. The purpose is to foster dialogue, but not to provide recommendations. In this workshop summary, statements, recommendations, and opinions expressed are those of individual presenters and participants, and are not necessarily endorsed or verified by the IOM, and they should not be construed as reflecting any group consensus. 1 NRC (National Research Council). 2011. Improving health in the United States: The role of health impact assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2 NRC (National Research Council). 2011. Sustainability and the U.S. EPA. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.