Comments about ‘Letters: Air pollution kills’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 21 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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William Gronberg
Payson, UT

Mr. Bender states very clearly his purpose for writing his February 18 letter in his last paragraph. Here are his own words.

"The only real point I am trying to make is that we need to stop going to the government to try to solve our problems. The real problems come when the government gets involved. In about 99 percent of the cases, when government becomes involved, things get worse."

Air pollution for Mr. Bender comes in a poor second. It is just a means to state his ongoing thesis that government is thus:

1. "...we need to stop going to the government..."

2. "The real problems come when government gets involved."

3. "...99 percent of the..." time government makes "...things get worse."

What a distortion of the real world. I assume that Mr. Bender includes the government of the USA and the state of Utah.

If the result of government action is almost always bad then the foundation must be very suspect also. Major foundations of state and national governments are their Constitutions. They may need some additional changes here and there. But they should and do produce basically good “fruits”. Not 99 percent worse results.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Scientific medical studies confirm that death rates from many diseases literally rise as air pollution rises."


So, since Utah air quality is much, MUCH better today than it was 50 years ago, and these diseases are still on the rise, why are we straining so hard to divine some cause related to air quality?

I suspect it has less to do with real concern for human health, and more to do with advocacy of one or another disingenuous liberal "crisis."

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

As bad as Salt Lake Valley air is thank heaven for the federal government air pollution standards. Can you imagine our air if cars were still burning leaded gasoline?

Ogden, UT

Still grappling with facts that don't fit your world view? There are many scientific studies examining the effects of particulate pollution on human health. You are going to have to do more than provide snide remarks about your liberal conspiracy du jour if you want to refute those.

We all know that the air quality is better now than half a century ago. But if the current air is still harmful to some of us, why would you want to just throw up your hands and quit? Why not work towards solutions that don't cripple our economy?

Sensible Scientist
Rexburg, ID

Ya gotta love the use of bad science by well-meaning but highly biased professionals. The claims about autism, asthma, and leukemia are not supported by valid research. They appeal to the good doctor, however, because they seem like "common sense" and they support the field in which he makes his living. They just aren't true.

one old man
Ogden, UT

And then there are all those instant experts posting here whose scientific knowledge is based entirely upon what they've read in some anti-environmental piece of propaganda.

Salt Lake City, UT

Dear moderator, please ignore this comment if it is a duplicate. I tried, twice, to enter it without apparent success:

Power plants save lives and provide far more benefits than harm. Energy use is a simple matter of trade-offs. Would the eco-nuts really argue that we'd be better off without coal fired power? Would they argue that wind or solar can meet our current energy requirements? Have they given up driving cars? Our air is continuously getting cleaner. Ohio State U is developing a process by which energy is extracted from coal by a chemical process that virtually eliminates pollutants. I'm guessing the earth-firsters will find something to whine about with this process as they have resisting movement toward nuclear energy.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Dr. G.H. Ross should know by now that to many Utah Republicans -
Doctors, Scientists and Universities are fools and liars who pander to the political left,
and that only college drop-outs on AM radio speak the truth.

Bountiful, UT

Dr. G.H. Ross is neither a fool nor a liar,
and is right-wing. Credible medical scientific
publications 'back up' what I have stated,
to refute 'Sensible Scientist', who states
about points I have writen:
"They just aren't true."

The ARE true, and he is wrong
and arrogant. See the articles from
PUBMED about Autism, Asthma, and Leukemia.
Sensible Scientist is either very poorly
MEDICALLY educated or delights in telling
untruths about people who might disagree
with his political agenda. He is proven WRONG.

Environmental mercury release,
special education rates, and
autism disorder: an ecological study
of Texas. Health Place.
2006 Jun;12(2):203-9.
Palmer RF et al.

Asthma exacerbation and proximity of
residence to major roads: a population
-based matched case-control study among
the pediatric Medicaid population in
Detroit, Michigan. Environ Health.
2011 Apr 23;10:34.
doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-10-34.
Li S, et al

Road traffic and childhood leukemia:
the ESCALE study (SFCE). Environ Health
Perspect. 2011 Apr;119(4):566-72.
doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002429.
Epub 2010 Dec 8. Amigou A et al.

'Sensible Scientist' SHOULD DO HIS
RESEARCH and apologize to all.

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . if the current air is still harmful to some of us, why would you want to just throw up your hands and quit?"

I wouldn't.

But step one in that process is to show that current air IS "still harmful to some of us."

Disingenuous liberals lurch from one manufactured crisis to the next in their neverending quest to justify their demand that we surrender to them our freedoms and prosperity. But real people, sensible people, will demand they meet their burden of proving a crisis actually exists, before we get overly exorcised about it.

If the good Doc, or his patients, actually had proof that industry, cars, whatever, caused their asthma, autism, or luekemia, they and their trial lawyers would be rich.

In the real world, however, only Docs and lawyers are rich -- not the sufferers.

We all can -- and should -- empathize with sufferers from these terrible diseases. But, notwithstanding the assertions of cynical liberal activists, who exploit their suffering for political purposes, suffering does not entitle them to our freedoms or civilization.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Emajor" what "procuradorfiscal" does have significant merit.

If you look at the pollution levels in Utah over the past 30 years or so, the pollution levels are decreasing. See the report titled "Air Quality Newsletter—2008" from the Wasatch Front Regional Council. They show that since the 1980's that pollution is going down. That does validate the question. If pollution levels are decreasing, and the claim is that pollution causes the health problems, why are the pollution related health problems increasing?

The other problem with the studies that people use to say that Utah needs to clean up its air are all based on year-round pollution. Utah's pollution problems are short term, and are not like LA and other areas that have high pollution levels all the time.

The bigger question that I don't think has been answered is what are the effects of short term pollution exposure? Think of it like somebody who exposed to second hand smoke 2 times per month, is their risk of lung cancer greater than somebody who has no exposure?

Salt Lake City, UT

Now that the good Doctor has dared to put up his proof of "pseudo-science" on the table, I think it is time to hear back from "sensible scientist" with his proof that exposes the Dr. as a liar and a dupe of the left. We all should stand ready to be impressed by some good old home cooked Idaho science. While it is true that noy all intelligent people have degrees after their name, it would be nice to see "sense" show some and prove that his opinion is not just more partisan blather.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Chilly, that's just plain silly.

We have a problem that can be solved without creating another disaster. We have made a lot of good progress, but there is a long way to go.

Should we simply stop trying?

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

IRONY OF THE DAY: In a debate between Russell Bender of Nephi and the large group of credentialed medical professionals who are now speaking out on our air quality, Russell Bender WINS! (that is, in the bizarro world of RedShirt, the FiscalProcurer, and their witless "ilk.")

Ogden, UT

Your comment has significant merit. Procuradorfiscal's does not. You are using a rational argument and have looked into the issue. Procuradorfiscal's responses are fueled by rhetoric and he has never given me specifics when I press him on it.

Your point about the effects of short term exposure is certainly a valid one. There have been a large number of studies on the effects of PM2.5 particulate pollution on human health, ranging from observational studies of large areas to cellular level research, but I haven't read in enough detail to know about length of exposure. I'll give that air quality newsletter you referenced a read.

I would love to see a multipage article from the Deseret News on what medical research can definitively prove about PM2.5's effect on health. Amy Joi O'Donoghue seems like the perfect candidate for this.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Emajor" if somebody was to do some searches into the effects of PM2.5 on our health, if you are to apply it to Utah, you would have to look at the effects of short term exposure, not the typical long term year round pollution exposure.

Tooele, UT


Not sure if I'm included in I. Ron's "witless 'ilk,'" but I still have enough wits about me to insist that, before I agree to heave enormous amounts of national treasure, our civilized lifestyle, and the precious freedoms I swore to defend against ALL enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC, into that giant liberal toilet, I should insist on proof of both safety and efficacy.

The burden of coming forward with that extraordinary proof rests on the tree huggers. They're the ones making all the extraordinary claims.

I've also got wits enough to recognize that there are platoons of tree-hugging activists out there who, if they had any such proof, they'd gladly produce it, rather than rely on the unsupported "consensus" of this "group of credentialed medical professionals," -- which is not, of course, nearly as large as disingenuous liberals hope we'll believe.

The failure of sufficient proof, while not dispositive of absence of proof, should certainly give us pause, at least unless and until it is produced.

Tooele, UT

Re: "I would love to see a multipage article from the Deseret News on what medical research can definitively prove about PM2.5's effect on health."

Wouldn't we all?

But it would, of course, be incomplete without discussion of the role of sea salt aerosols -- the primary source, worldwide, of airborne particulates -- on local concentrations.

And, of course, information on that issue would be hard to find, since studies on the contribution of harmless sea salt aerosols to Valley particulate concentrations would likely disprove the disingenuous "crisis" that true-believing liberal "consensus" academics are so eager to support.

Ogden, UT

If our pollution problem is brought on by stagnant, temperature-inverted air, how on earth are sea salt aerosols finding their way into the inversion layer and causing the problem? During winter inversions here, the PM2.5 comes from automobiles and industry.

And airborne particulate salts and sediments are not harmless. Read up on Owens Lake for that one.

BTW, what's your source for the sea salt aerosol claim? I'm curious.

Ogden, UT

If you think the air in an inversion is killing you, put on some kind of a respirator to filter the air. Besides, most of the inversion air is simply fog (moisture).

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