- WaPo to readers: Send us your ‘gun violence’ stories for Sandy Hook anniversary
- U.S. threatens Ukraine with sanctions over dispatch of riot police
- Canada doing away with door-to-door mail delivery by 2018
- NSA chief defends phone spying: ‘There is no other way’
- Hawaii Health Department head killed in plane crash
- Colorado school drops sexual harassment label on boy who kissed girl’s hand
- Australia court strikes down 5-day-old, gay-marriage law
- Fake interpreter at Mandela service: ‘Sorry,’ I have schizophrenia
- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
FACT CHECK: GOP senator gasps for facts on asthma
Question of the Day
But Paul, and a chart he used to make his case against the health benefits of a new federal air pollution rule, relied on some creative sourcing and pseudoscience.
Paul’s chart was a graph showing air pollution declining in California as the number of people diagnosed with asthma rose. The chart attributed the data to a May 2003 paper by what was then called the California Department of Health Services. But the department never plotted the relationship between those two factors.
In fact, the department said asthma attacks “can be triggered by exposures and conditions such as respiratory infections, house dust mites, animal dander, mold, pollen, exercise, tobacco smoke, and indoor and outdoor air pollutants.”
That paper, by independent consultant Joel Schwartz, contends that most air pollution information from environmentalists, regulators, scientists and journalists is exaggerated or wrong. The paper was not subjected to the normal peer-review process demanded for most published science.
Paul, an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon, cited Schwartz in his Nov. 10 remarks. “We have decreased pollution and rising incidence of asthma. Either they are inversely proportional or they are not related at all,” he said.
At best, the chart suggests that air pollution alone cannot explain the rise in asthma, a chronic lung disease that inflicts approximately 34 million people in the U.S. Its exact cause is unknown.
The chart certainly can’t be used to say that air pollution plays no role in causing asthma.
“They may think there is a pattern there, but in fact it has no basis,” said Dr. Richard Kreutzer, head of environmental and occupational disease control at what is now California’s Department of Public Health, the agency cited on Paul’s chart. Kreutzer said there is evidence that some pollutants can cause asthma and even more research showing that air pollution aggravates asthma in those who have the disease.
The National Institutes of Health said last year that “recent findings have conclusively demonstrated a link between asthma and air pollution, especially ground-level ozone.”
Schwartz, who now works for Blue Sky Consulting Group, discounts even studies linking pollution to asthma attacks, saying “they are probably not related.”
In an interview with The Associated Press, Schwartz defended his work. “The fact that they move in opposite directions shows that air pollution is not a large factor in the cause,” he said.
Dan Greenbaum, the president of the nonprofit Health Effects Institute, said such arguments “miss the point.” The institute receives funding from both the Environmental Protection Agency and the auto industry.
“No pulmonary doctor has said that the primary reason for the increase in asthma is air pollution. That is not the concern with air pollution and asthma,” Greenbaum said. “The concern is that if you have asthma, we have very strong evidence that you are sensitive to air pollution.”
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- DIVEST! Oil is the new apartheid on college campuses
- Colorado school drops sexual harassment label on boy who kissed girl's hand
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow