A niche publication, E&E News, reports to a wide variety of institutional stakeholders on environmental and energy issues before Congress and federal regulatory agencies. Last week, in its report on the EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, its editors felt it better to report half-truths.
Air pollution remains a contentious issue. While everyone is in favor of cleaner air, there is less unanimity over which pollutants, in what concentrations, can harm our health. The linkage between air pollution and disease is beset with problems of accurately identifying a dose-response (a biologic gradient), a clear temporal connection, and, most importantly, biologic plausibility – how does a pollutant cause a disease.
The press reports global estimates of 7 million premature deaths associated with air pollution. That's despite dramatic improvements in air quality. How clean is clean enough?
A weekly look at what's also interesting, even though it didn't make it into Dispatch or onto our website.
Tule fog is a very dense fog found in California's Central Valley, and it's the source of many traffic accidents and fatalities annually. But over the last 30 years Tule fog is seen less often, and for shorter times. Apparently, it's not a result of climate change but of improving air quality.
Air quality is very good pretty much everywhere in the United States. This fact stands in stark contrast to utterly absurd claims in the media, such as blaming air pollution for killing 155,000 Americans. Take a look at the maps provided by the World Health Organization.
Cosmetics and cleaners are not the great Satan of atmospheric pollution that the media suggests. But why let facts get in the way of a good story?
It's no secret that air pollution is bad news (but no longer in the U.S.). It's also no secret that people write sensationalized junk that poses as science to drive home a point or support an agenda. Today we're having a two-for-one special. You get both. And no – small particulate matter does not affect IQ. This is beyond ridiculous.
Should the U.S. learn from China about air pollution? A history professor says yes, and he bases his argument on an epidemiological paper that utilizes deceptive maps and dubious methods.
Air pollution in China has a substantially negative impact on public health. But with the exception of central and southern California and the upper Midwest, the United States has extremely clean air. And in fact, most regions in this country would not benefit from tighter air pollution standards.
Over time, wealth makes people desire a clean environment. That’s why environmentalists, if they are to be successful, must be pro-human at heart.
Recent research has forged a new reason to take B vitamin supplements — protection from the deleterious cardiovascular effects of air pollution. But the data are far from conclusive and much more work will have to support these results before their utility is proven. In the meantime, don't hold your breath.