April 30, 2008

Hypocrisy Smells Bad

Yesterday there was a pretty good comment war on this article I posted yesterday, concerning the vaccine-autism misinformation out there. I got a few comments concerned that I don't consider the mercury/vaccine/mitochondrial disorder/antivax flavor of the day to autism connection serious. In fact I do, and fully support continued funding on vaccine research and their singular and cumulative effect on multiple subpopulations of the world. But mercury is gone and every study has either shown inconclusive or negative causation results so I don't like people spreading unnecessary fear about a highly complicated and extremely important public health pillar.

But here's what gets me, the same people telling me that vaccines cause autism and that the government should more highly scrutinize vaccines aren't up in arms over Bush's CO2 and ozone policies. Here's a real fact, in a study of 13 Italian cities (200,000 inhabitants) 0.6% of total mortality (over 500 deaths, equivalent to about 6,000 years) was attributed to ozone levels over 70μg/m3 (micrograms/meter cubed). Using a little math we can put that in a number we use over here in the US at 58.13ppm (for you science nerds who wanna check my math I used the density of dry air at 20C and 101.325kPa). I hope I didn't lose everyone with the science and math cause here comes the important information.

At 58ppm over 500 deaths were attributed Ozone in 13 Italian cities.
This is live data for the ozone levels in Texas in ppm as of 3 pm. 12 out of the 20 monitoring stations reported measurements as high as those that caused 6,000 years of loss in Italian cities, and this is over a much larger population. Now here's the scary part of that important information.
Due to formatting problems (link to full map with legend) I couldn't get the legend up but the green area represents "Good" quality air. That's not what the previous map told me though, it told me that Italians living at that level were dying specifically from the exposure. How can levels of this sort be considered safe, and not only safe but good? There is some sort of hypocrisy going on here because a substance that has been proven (I just used one study of real world data for an example) to harm humans is allowed to persist at these levels. Anybody care to take a guess why?

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