Air-Pollution Scare Debunked; EPA Uses Phony Statistics to Justify Costly Air-Quality Rules

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 19, 2011 | Go to article overview

Air-Pollution Scare Debunked; EPA Uses Phony Statistics to Justify Costly Air-Quality Rules


Byline: Steve Milloy and Dr. John Dale Dunn, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

What if today's levels of air pollution didn't kill anybody? That certainly would be bad news for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has spent the past 15 years stubbornly defending its extraordinarily expensive and ever-tightening air-quality regulations.

The EPA claims airborne fine particulate matter kills tens of thousands annually and that the prevention of those deaths will provide society $2 trillion annually in monetized health benefits by 2020.

But we can debunk those claims with more than mere criticisms of EPA's statistical malpractice and secret data. We have actual data that simply discredit the EPA's claims.

Everyone (including environmental zealots) agrees that the worst air-pollution episode ever to occur in the United States occurred in Donora, Pa., in October 1948.

For three days, an unusual and stifling temperature inversion trapped noxious fumes from local industry in Donora's valley. By the time rain finally came to clear away the smog, thousands had been affected, hundreds had been sickened, and 20 elderly persons were dead. The Donora tragedy was a sentinel event on the path to the federal Clean Air Act that finally was enacted in 1963.

Ironically, though, when the Donora episode is studied rather than simply exploited as a rhetorical device, that debunks the EPA's assertion that present-day air quality is a killer.

The U.S. Public Health Service investigated the Donora tragedy and in 1949 issued a report titled Air Pollution in Donora, Pa.: Epidemiology of the Smog Episode of October 1948.

The report indicates that the death rates for the period 1945-48 for Donora and nearby Pittsburgh were 826 and 1,086 per 100,000 people, respectively.

Surprisingly, those mortality rates compare pretty well with the most recent mortality data for Allegheny County, Pa., home to both Donora and Pittsburgh.

During the years 2006-08, Allegheny County's mortality rate was 1,110 per 100,000. And while mortality rate is one of the few objective public health statistics available, there's much more to this story than simply comparing then-and-now mortality rates.

Donora's air quality was measured by the U.S. Weather Bureau from Feb. 16 to April 27, 1949 - i.e., more than three months after the October inversion and during what would be considered normal air-quality conditions in Donora.

The Weather Bureau's measurements of airborne particulate matter are astonishing and compelling. Of the 205 air samples taken at 12 stations during those 10 weeks in Donora, 54 percent exceeded 500 micrograms per cubic meter.

While the other 46 percent of the readings were less than 500 micrograms per cubic meter, it's likely that all of those were likely far greater than today's EPA's standard for maximum allowable fine particulate matter, which is 35 micrograms per cubic meter during a 24-hour period.

In contrast, Allegheny County violated this modern EPA standard just twice during 2007-09.

So, although the air in Allegheny County is much cleaner than it was in the years following World War II, the mortality rate is about the same. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Air-Pollution Scare Debunked; EPA Uses Phony Statistics to Justify Costly Air-Quality Rules
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.