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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Air Pollution - Mass Killer Or More Political Jobs for The Boys

  This is the official line:

The World Health Organization states that 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution, with 1.5 million of these deaths attributable to indoor air pollution.[15] "Epidemiological studies suggest that more than 500,000 Americans die each year from cardiopulmonary disease linked to breathing fine particle air pollution. . ."[16] A study by the University of Birmingham has shown a strong correlation between pneumonia related deaths and air pollution from motor vehicles.[17] Worldwide more deaths per year are linked to air pollution than to automobile accidents. A 2005 study by the European Commission calculated that air pollution reduces life expectancy by an average of almost nine months across the European Union.[19] Causes of deaths include aggravated asthma, emphysema, lung and heart diseases, and respiratory allergies.[citation needed] The US EPA estimates that a proposed set of changes in diesel engine technology (Tier 2) could result in 12,000 fewer premature mortalities, 15,000 fewer heart attacks, 6,000 fewer emergency room visits by children with asthma, and 8,900 fewer respiratory-related hospital admissions each year in the United States.[citation needed]

The US EPA estimates allowing a ground-level ozone concentration of 65 parts per billion, would avert 1,700 to 5,100 premature deaths nationwide in 2020 compared with the current 75-ppb standard

   But is it true. Or is it yet another case opf taking genuine results at high levels and assuming a proportionate linear reaction all the way down. That is the Linear No Threshold theory proven, after 60 years spent inducing hysteria about the nuclear industry, to be wholly false.      Welll it seems to be the latter. Here is the particular research:

Exposure misclassification and threshold concentrations in time series analyses of air pollution health effects.

Brauer M, Brumm J, Vedal S, Petkau AJ.

Linear, no-threshold relationships are typically reported for time series studies of air pollution and mortality.

.... These results demonstrate that surrogate metrics that are not highly correlated with personal exposures obscure the presence of thresholds in epidemiological studies of larger populations,       If  1 person stands in 8 feet of water they will drown, therefore if 10,000 people stand in 6 inches pf water 625 of them will drown - that is the LNT theory.       I looked this up because Steve Milloy wrote a more general article comparing the air pollution deaths alleged, under oath, by the EPA and China's many times worse air quality:

China’s bad air puts the lie to EPA scare tactics

As a practical matter, the average level of PM2.5 in U.S. air is about 10 micrograms per cubic meter, and the EPA standards are hardly ever exceeded in the vast majority of the country. Nonetheless, the agency’s justification for such strict standards is its assertion that PM2.5 kills people — a lot of them.

Outgoing EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson testified about PM2.5 before Congress in September 2011: “Particulate matter causes premature death. It doesn’t make you sick. It is directly causal to you dying sooner than you should.” Mrs. Jackson also testified that PM2.5 kills about 570,000 Americans annually, about 25% of all U.S. deaths. 

... The EPA has estimated that every 10 microgram-per-cubic-meter increase in PM2.5 increases daily death rates by about 1 percent. That rate is asserted to be higher for vulnerable subpopulations like the elderly or sick.

What should all this mean for China?

On the worst day so far of the ongoing Chinese air pollution event, Beijing’s PM2.5 levels peaked at 886 micrograms per cubic meter — an incredible 89 times greater than the U.S. daily average. Based on EPA risk estimates, we should expect the daily death toll in Beijing to have skyrocketed by 89 percent on a same-day and next-day basis. Remember that PM2.5 essentially causes “sudden death,” according to the EPA.

Beijing has a population of about 19.6 million and an annual death rate of a little more than 500 per 100,000. This means that about 100,000 people die annually in Beijing, or about 274 per day.

According to EPA risk estimates, the day the PM2.5 level spiked to 886 micrograms per cubic meter, the daily death toll should have increased to about 518 deaths — that is, if what the EPA says about PM2.5 is true.

The Chinese media have reported on four deaths related to the current air pollution crisis. Two Chinese boys were reportedly killed in a train accident caused by visibility problems. Two other people were apparently killed in a car accident, again caused by visibility problems. Yet there are no reports of a spike in deaths caused by breathing the heavily polluted air.

One Beijing hospital reportedly claims to have experienced a 20 percent to 30 percent increase in admission for respiratory ailments — but no deaths have been reported or claimed, and deaths are key to EPA’s PM2.5 regulations. Even the reported respiratory hospitalizations, to the extent any of them can actually be attributed to poor air quality, would more than likely be due to a genuinely toxic air pollutant or mixture other than mere PM2.5.

 I commented
  "The Chinese level was 89 times the US average. Lets assume this was particularly high and the Chinese average is 20 times thec US average. So if air pollution kills “570,000 Americans annually” (presumably EPA testimony on oath) the Chinese death toll, in a country 4 times larger, must be at least 46 millionm (far more if the assumptuion is that damage rises geometrically as would be normal) .

So no worries about China becoming the next superpower since they will all be dead in 28 years.

Assuming the EPA isn’t lying on oath."
      I think that about covers it. official claims of air pollutionn deaths are total and since if I can make these comparisons the "experts" can, deliberate lies. They help provide gainful employment for pseudo-environmentalist bureaucrats by scari8ng the public but that is it.      The UK Clean Air act was introduced when an inversion over London created a smog so strong people couldn't see their hands in front of their faces and hospitals registered 4,000 deaths more than expected. But that has nothing to do with modern experience thousands or even hundrerds of thousands of times less. The Clean Air act is lauded as the first environmental legislation and is almost certainly the most , or only, beneficial one, but this happened in the 1950s, long before the pseudo-environmental movement even iexisted.      I suggest that the default position for anybody involved in the movement is to ask if they are publicly on record as having denounced the use of LNT in air pollution, nuclear, food standards or elsewhere. If they haven't the base assumption has to be that they are lying in any other scare they promote until good, independent, evidence proves other wise.

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According to The Skeptical Environmentalist if you plot the decline of British air pollution over time there is no change of slope corresponding to the Clean Air Act.

I haven't checked this claim. Even if true, I don't think it proves that the CAA had no effect. But I suspect it does prove that almost everyone who lauds that Act hasn't looked at much evidence.
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