CA Study: "Dirty Air Kills More Than Car Accidents." Or Not.
Another day, another hysterical headline demonizing the automobile. This one arrives to us thanks to a study from California State University [via the SF Examiner]. Now, I’m no epidemiologist, nor do I play one in the autoblogosphere. But whenever I see the media glom onto research that promotes a particular political agenda, I want to see the methodology. (Hell, even if a study doesn’t become the darling of a crusade, I still want to see the methodology.) OK, so, “Hall and colleague Victor Brajer analyzed ozone and fine particulate concentrations across the two [most pollluted] basins in five-by-five kilometer grids from 2005 through 2007. The researchers applied those numbers to the health affects they are known to cause, then assigned peer-reviewed economic values to each illness or death that could result.” Fair enough. And then… “To illustrate its point, the study noted that the California Highway Patrol recorded 2,521 vehicular deaths in the San Joaquin Valley and South Coast Air Basin in 2006, compared to 3,812 deaths attributed to respiratory illness caused by particulate pollution.” See? Now who asked them to do that?
“The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world.” This one was $90k, out of last year’s $483,654,925 in grants and disbursed $426,384,396 in grant and gift payments (shazam!). Did the grant giver and grantee had an agenda here? “‘For decades there has been a tug of war over what to do about air pollution,’ said Jane Hall, lead author of the study and an internationally recognized expert in the economics of regulation and the environment at Cal State Fullerton. ‘We are paying now for not having done enough.'” Or, in this case, getting paid.
Dacobb on Nov 15, 2008
Could it be that safer cars are messing up this "ratio"? Remove the air bags, median barriers and speed limits. Stop safety inspections on all commercial vehicles. Put bicycle and pedestrian lanes on the freeways. In a few years nature should straighten things out for the few that are left. Seriously, I can't believe somebody was paid to do a study that shows us something everybody already knows. LA has air pollution? What a shock!
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