U. study yields 'upsetting' results linking miscarriages with spikes in Utah air pollution

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  • 112358 Alpine, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 2:58 p.m.

    I've answered those questions several days ago. Unfortunately, the moderator has neither approved nor denied my reply.

  • FelisConcolor Layton, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 10:40 p.m.

    "Women can manage the risk by using a N95 particulate respirator face mask to filter out pollutants or avoid outdoor physical activity on poor air quality days."

    This is quite a remarkable statement for a University spokesperson to make, especially when one realizes the U is the home of the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.

    According to the results of this study an N95 respirator will NOT reduce the risk of miscarriage, as it only removes fine particulates and PM 2.5 was not determined to significantly raise the risk of miscarriage.

    The N95 respirator cannot remove gases such as ozone, carbon monoxide, or nitrogen dioxide, the only gas determined by this study to significantly increase miscarriage risk.

    Really, people should stop recommending particulate respirators for general use during unhealthy pollution days. They don't filter out gases or organic vapors, they need to be correctly fitted to work properly, and they can cause respiratory distress in susceptible individuals during periods of exertion.

    They are an imperfect solution that too often does nothing to help the user.

  • essence Ivins, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 11:49 a.m.

    The Church is very invested in preserving human life. Abortion is unacceptable. We know how powerful their input is with state government, e.g., the marijuana initiative. In the interest of preservation of human life, the leadership of the church should urge the legislature to set aside sufficient money and enact laws to clean up the pollution along the Wasatch Front. In doing so, avoid the high incidences of miscarriages. Additionally, church members that make up a large portion of the population should do all they can to hold down emissions including driving less and driving vehicles that don't add to the problem. The applies to all in the area but perhaps particularly to those who espouse preservation of life ethos.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 10:20 a.m.

    "Remind us which countries contribute most to climate change. America is doing quite well. We are not anywhere near the culprit. "

    For total emissions using 2015 data China is number 1 at 28%. The United States is number 2 at 15%. India 6%. Russia 5%. Japan 4%. Everyone else is 2% or less. Nothing about that ranking says the US is doing well.

    For per capita emissions small oil nations like Kuwait, Oman, and UAE are the worst. Then a cluster that includes the United States, Canada, Australia, Kazahstan, and Saudi Arabia. Per capita carbon emissions in the US are 50% higher than those in Japan or Russia, 2x that of China or the EU, and 10% that of India. Nothing about that ranking says the US is doing well.

    If the entire population of China and India used energy at rates similar to the US per capita (both have around 4x our population), China's emissions would double (add another 28%) and India's would increase 9x (add another 6%x9 = 54%). We'd have to almost double global carbon emissions for China and India to use energy like Americans.

    The US has flattened emissions for 2 decades but we're far from fine.

  • srw Riverton, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 9:35 a.m.

    112358 wrote, " Correlation does not equal causation..."

    That's true, but the article doesn't claim that causation was proven. You quoted the word "slight," but that word doesn't appear in the article. The peer-reviewed journal article says that the miscarriage rate is higher than average (following high levels of nitrogen dioxide) at a confidence level of 95%. Can you point us to some contrarian data that contradicts the results of this study? Would you please describe a scientific way to prove or disprove that air pollution is the cause of the increase in miscarriages?

    ConservativeCommonTater wrote, "This report says that there is climate change..."

    No, it does not. I sympathize with your objectives, but I think it would be better to wait for an article about climate change to comment on that. The existence of air pollution is well established.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 8:46 a.m.

    What will it take to convince Utah Republicans that the environment is a critical issue? Deny, deny, deny..... then die.

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 8:30 a.m.

    @comontater. Remind us which countries contribute most to climate change. America is doing quite well. We are not anywhere near the culprit. Now back to the inversion. We live in a unique geography…surrounded by mountains, trapping all sort of junk in the air. Unless you outlaw driving a gasoline powered car, there may not be a solution. Improve mass transit may be the best, practical solution and incentivizing the use thereof.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 8:20 a.m.

    All you need are eyes to see that breathing along the Wasatch front is not a 'pro life' activity. I'm fortunate to get breaks away from it.

  • Millenial Snow Sandy, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 8:09 a.m.

    @112358 - Alpine, UT

    "Bad research" you say? Anyone with eyeballs can drive into the valley and see that thick haze and know: These levels of pollution is not good for anyone.

    Or maybe we should just continue on and not worry about it. It's our kid's problem, not ours.

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 8:02 a.m.


    I know Utah loves their cars, but we need incentives to drive less. This could mean a million things: higher taxes for city cars, more frequent trax routes, taking away parking minimums, bike lanes that are safe enough for children to use, tax writeoffs for electric vehicles -- there is no silver bullet but other countries have traffic issues and pollution issues and have figured out solutions that do work.

    Utah. This problem is not just going to go away. It is literally killing us. It's time to act.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Dec. 28, 2018 5:57 a.m.

    Air pollution is something that both conservatives and liberals can agree upon -- or at least I hope. Air pollution is immediate and directly hurts human health.

    Over the summer, it was interesting to see local sporting matches either get postponed or cancelled due to bad air from wild fires. We seem to go from bad air in the summer to bad air in the winter. Will it hurt our chances to procure the Olympics?

    Can you imagine having to cancel an Olympic event due to our air pollution?

    Gov. Herbert has proposed $100 million of the state budget to address air pollution. Let's hope that the legislature sees this as something as worthy to address for local citizens, our economy and future, regardless of the Olympics. But is securing the Olympics is of utmost concern for Utah, then let the Olympics be the driving force behind improving our air!

  • 112358 Alpine, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 11:34 p.m.

    This is classic bad research. Correlation does not equal causation yet the U is issuing press releases based on precisely that unproven and unscientific causal link. Even if we presume that the correlation from this study holds more broadly, there are a host of external causes (e.g. variation in human activity that correlates with NO2 levels) that could drive the correlation. Similarly, it can be shown in many locations that stork population exhibits a very real measurable correlation with baby arrivals – a far stronger correlation, actually, than the authors of this study have shown – yet it would be imprudent to claim that storks deliver babies.

    In this case, the researchers clearly were looking to confirm something that they already believed to be true. They examined multiple factors until they found one that exhibited “slight” correlation, then published.

    Researchers at the U would do well to remember the cautionary tale of Stanley Pons – a U professor that went in search of data that confirmed his research without critical analysis of contrarian data. Claiming a causal link from the study presented here is no more scientific than claiming that cold fusion works.

  • ConservativeCommonTater Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2018 10:05 p.m.

    This can't possibly be true. Our legislators and President said there are no correlations between human activity and Global warming or climate change.

    This report says that there is climate change, in the form of an increase in man made gasses that add to the air pollution, which is part of the change in our atmosphere.

    Someone is not telling the truth. Can it be research scientists or the political party that denies such changes are contributing to the problems of human health?