Wednesday, November 24, 2004


"Increases in air pollution caused by cars, power plants and industry can be directly linked to higher death rates in U.S. cities, a study said," reported Reuters this week. The Reuters reporter, I suppose, had no hope of taking the study's results to task (as they beg to be) since she was undoubtedly hypnotized by the ostensible prestige of the journal in which the study was published- the Nov. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association- the seemingly mesmerizing affiliations of the study's authors (Yale University and the Johns Hopkins University), and the sleep-inducing nature of the study's statistical analysis. But had the reporter been able to go beyond simple regurgitation of the study's press release, Reuters' might well have reported "Researchers tried to scare public with statistical malpractice."....

First, if smog is deadly in New York City, then it should be deadly everywhere. But even granting the researchers every benefit of the doubt with respect to the validity of their analysis, among the 95 urban areas included in the study, the correlation between smog and mortality is only statistically meaningful in five of those 95 urban areas (New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Chicago). That means in 95 percent of the urban areas studied, there was no meaningful correlation between smog and mortality. It's simply not credible that smog would be a killer in five particular cities, but nowhere else.....

The type of study undertaken - called an "ecologic" type study by epidemiologists - is fundamentally incapable of linking smog with mortality. Not a single death was specifically linked by the researchers to smog. In no case was there a medical finding that anyone's death was, in fact, caused by smog. The researchers have no idea how much smog to which any of the people in the study were exposed.

Rather, the researchers only compared, on a very macro level, urban death rates and urban smog levels. They did not look to see whether individuals exposed to higher levels of smog had greater rates of premature death after ruling out all other likely risk factors for premature death. It is taught in Epidemiology 101 that ecologic studies are very crude tools that, at best, may be used to develop ideas for further research. The smog study's authors know this, too. Jonathan Samet, one of the authors, once discouraged the use of ecologic studies, writing in the journal Health Physics that, "The methodologic limitations inherent in the ecologic method may substantially bias ecologic estimates of risk."

The study's reported increase in risk of 0.52 percent per 10 ppb of smog is laughably small - so small that it probably could not be reliably identified by the researchers..... This study, in reality, reported no association between smog levels typically found in U.S. urban areas and mortality.

What's really going here is yet another example of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded ongoing effort to churn out one junk science-fueled alarm after another regarding air quality. The purpose is to grease the skids for the EPA to issue more stringent air quality regulations in the future - standards that provide the agency with more power over states.

More here


The "fuel efficient" cars beloved by Greenies may not save their owners money anyway -- because they don't generate enough tax revenue for California's ever-hungry government:

California drivers are accustomed to paying the highest prices at the gasoline pump in the continental United States, but a proposal that their cars be outfitted with transponders to collect state taxes by the mile has stirred deep-rooted privacy fears. The policy idea is a response to the growing popularity of gas-electric hybrid cars and concern that as more fuel-efficient vehicles clog the California's highways, a tax on gasoline consumption will no longer be the best way to finance road maintenance. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week nominated Joan Borucki, a proponent of taxing motorists for every mile they drive, to a key position overseeing the state's Department of Motor Vehicles.....

Schwarzenegger was careful to distance himself from the tax by the mile proposal, telling reporters he had not had time to study the idea and so had no comment at present. California charges motorists 18 cents for every gallon of gasoline they purchase to help pay for the state's roads. There is also a state sales tax of 7.25 percent on gasoline but with California deeply in debt, critics say those tax revenues have been "raided" in recent years to pay for other services such as education and health care. "People are driving more miles, putting more wear and tear on the roads, but more fuel efficient cars are starting to erode the gas tax," said Mike Lawson, executive director of Transportation California, a coalition of business and labor groups who back transportation infrastructure improvements.

A pay-per-mile plan involves the installation of a transponder into a car which is able to tell whether the car is within its home state. This is necessary so motorists are not taxed by two states for the same gallon of gas when they are traveling across the country.....

California state Senator Tom McClintock, who is deputy chair of the Transportation Committee, also raised fears that the tax would be more expensive to collect and would also discourage drivers from buying more fuel-efficient cars. "Don't we want to encourage fuel efficient vehicles?" he said, echoing the concerns of some environmentalists.

More here

For some reason, one of Louis Hissink's articles has been taken down from the Henry Thornton website. It must have REALLY trodden on some toes. I have reposted it here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Comments? Email me or here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


No comments: