2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen photographed in Washington, DC, USA. (credit: IFCAR)

Extra smog spewed from Volkswagen’s emission-scamming cars will cause about 60 people in the United States to die 10 to 20 years early, researchers report.

The figure, the first peer-reviewed estimate of the VW scandal’s health effects, falls in the range of rough calculations already reported in the media, which spanned from 16 to 106 early deaths. Those estimates trickled in shortly after the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a violation notice in September that the automaker had rigged 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel light duty vehicles with devices that allowed them to skirt emission standards.

The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, also estimated that healthcare and related social costs from the pollution will reach $450 million. If the automaker fails to recall the cheating vehicles, the added pollution would cause an additional 140 premature deaths.

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