It’s worse than we thought, say researchers in California, as they examine the devastation caused by microscopic "air pollutants."
"Particle pollution is a silent killer," shrieked the chairwoman of the state’s Air Resources Board last week, responding to the release of a report that says the health risk from fine-particle pollution is 70 percent greater than previously estimated. The report, as is so often the case when bureaucrats seek funding during economic downturns, is not a study at all. Like the Environmental Protection Agency’s woefully flawed secondhand smoke study, this "new" report trumpeted by the Air Resources Board is an amalgamation of 60 studies marinated with suggestions from a team of experts, including some from the World Health Organization.

In other words it’s a political document that will be utilized by special interests to pressure the legislators in Sacramento to enact yet more regulations on a state that is hamstrung with rules and regulations. The press release, regurgitated by a reporter from Junk Science Central, the San Francisco Chronicle, bolsters its connivance by the copious use of technical jargon, always on display when grifters shake down the rubes with a deck of marked cards.

"California’s average small-particle concentration is about 14 micrograms of PM2.5, or particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, per cubic meter of air. The San Francisco Bay’s average over the past three years is 10.69 micrograms. Assuming that a safe level is 7 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air — half as clean as the state’s air — means that there would still be about 14,000 to 24,000 premature deaths every year in the state associated with these small particles, the study said."

The assumption mentioned above is completely irrelevant because the authors themselves admit that the current level of scientific knowledge cannot determine what is a safe level of the tiny particles. The lack of such a key ingredient to the equation would give pause to honest researchers but the dishonest always rush forward to trumpet the conclusions they reached long before they began the pantomime that they dub the scientific method.

Admitting that numbers of premature deaths are difficult to estimate doesn’t stop the ideologues from asserting that 11,900 to 20,700 Californians, living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and the San Joaquin Valley, drop dead each year. That’s quite a spread between the low and high ends and quite a death toll unaccompanied by any real dead bodies. It’s even higher than most estimates of death due to secondhand smoke exposure, which doesn’t prevent the air board’s chief of research from lugubriously murmuring that living in these areas is like living with a smoker.

Turning tiny particles into demon smokers is the best that these researchers can do but such con jobs all too often end discussions about the validity of such reports. The reporter sought dissenting views but representatives of the oil and trucker businesses declined an invitation to opine, preferring no doubt not to waste time speaking to mainstream news sources, whose employees are already fully on board the health scare wagon. The press acolytes will tout any scheme to crack down on energy producers, the agricultural business and all those millions of foolish Californians who persist in heating their homes, driving their cars, and trying to make a living in a state that long ago told productive enterprises to go green or go to hell.



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