Air pollution

It doesn't matter how bad or wildly untrue an idea might be; it is a near certainty that one can find an academic somewhere who is willing to embrace it. Alternative medicine, AIDS denialism, Holocaust denialism, communism -- all of these find a welcoming home within the ranks of academia.

The latest bad idea -- admittedly, not nearly as bad as the aforementioned -- comes from Smith College history professor Daniel Gardner, who believes that the U.S. should learn from China about air pollution. In an article for Project Syndicate, he makes the case that a nation with some of the cleanest air in the world can learn from a nation...

Every so often, the media likes to warn us that we're all dying from air pollution.

Headlines like, "Air Pollution 'Kills 7 Million People a Year'" are common and repeated like a morose version of the childhood game "Telephone." Predictably, that leads to calls for tighter environmental regulations, and anyone who disagrees is labeled an Earth-hating, cancer-loving industry shill.

Now a team of researchers from the University of Chicago has created a map that depicts the average number of years of life per person that could be saved if countries adopted the...

There is a theoretical relationship between a nation’s wealth and the amount of pollution it emits.

Because a poor country has little manufacturing and few power plants, pollution is low. As the nation develops, perhaps by burning fossil fuels to produce electricity and operating manufacturing facilities to generate exports, it becomes wealthier. At the same time, however, it pollutes more than it ever has before.

Eventually, as the country becomes even wealthier, the people demand a cleaner environment. What was once a luxury (clean air and pure water) is demanded as a right. As a result, new regulations are enforced, cleaner technologies are implemented, and pollution decreases.

This pattern, known as the...

It's a given that the vitamins are necessary for life; but over the years there have been efforts to demonstrate that they also hold almost magical properties with respect to various diseases and conditions — think Linus Pauling with his theories on vitamin C and cancer or the attempt to show that beta-carotene could ameliorate the effects of smoking on lung cancer (neither of which stood up to scrutiny). And more recently, vitamin D has been seen as a candidate for miracle ingredient — this hasn't panned out either, as we explained here. Now we've become aware that several B vitamins are being tested to see if they can prevent the effects of air pollution on the cardiovascular system.

The most recent...

Inside Science reported last week on a presentation at the American Economic Association by Emilia Simeonova with the entrancing title of Congestion Pricing and Children’s Health. New York City ranks 39th in the world, after our fellow cities of Los Angeles (10th) and San Francisco (31st) regarding traffic congestion, at least based on travel times.

Asthma the world’s most common disease for children is not completely understood. As the World Health Organization...

A new economic claim from the American Lung Association of California regarding Zero Emission Vehicles and their potential health benefits has us all living in an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.  

But, their statement goes way beyond,"You get a car, you get a car, you get a car!"  

Their analysis postulates that a big push in the usage of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) will allow Americans to save billions of dollars in health costs each year, along with thousands of lives. Unfortunately, that's a promise not even Oprah could make happen. 

A Zero Emission Vehicle is a vehicle that directly produces no harmful emissions - some don't even...

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In the midst of China's smog-ridden Beijing lies a breath of fresh air -- and it comes in the form of a bottle. Vitality Air is selling bottled air to Chinese consumers, and the Canadian company is making a killing.

Beijing's...

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 4.12.10 PMWhen it comes to government policies regarding health policy, we ve seen pretty much every type: Meaningless, but mostly harmless, anti-science, money driven, and ill-conceived and harmful.

Some of these (the full list would shut down the Internet) include the Hatch DSHEA act of 1994, which allowed untested drugs to be sold under the guise of food supplements, state laws that permit vaccine exemptions based on religious and personal beliefs, and the routine banning or restricting of chemicals that are harmless, only to have them replaced by another chemical that...

rig-wind-river-537x358A poll conducted by Pew Research Center last fall highlights the national debate over hydraulic fracturing with 49 percent of surveyed individuals in opposition to hydraulic fracturing, and 44 percent in support of the method. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and the head of the Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp, weigh in on the national debate in today s New York Times op-ed, suggesting a Right Way to Develop Shale Gas...

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 12.58.10 PMA big shoutout to ACSH advisor (and junk science debunker extraordinaire) Dr. Geoffrey Kabat for his recent Forbes op-ed entitled What Is Really At Stake In The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology...