EPA air pollution scare debunked by best data set ever assembled on particulate matter and deaths

Airborne Fine Particulate Matter and Short-Term Mortality: Exploring the California Experience,2007-2010.
Executive Summary

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates ambient airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) on the basis that it is causally associated with short-term mortality — i.e., daily increases in PM2.5 cause increases in daily deaths. This is the first epidemiologic study to test that hypothesis on a systematic basis, i.e., using all the relevant and available data from a large contiguous geographic area. Based on a comparison of air quality data from the California Air Resources Board and death certificate data for 854,109 deaths from the California Department of Public Health for the years 2007-2010, no correlation was identified between changes in ambient PM2.5 and daily deaths, including when the analysis was limited to the deaths among the elderly, heart and/or lung deaths only, and heart and/or lung deaths among the elderly. Although this is only an epidemiologic or statistical study that cannot absolutely exclude the possibility that PM2.5 actually affects mortality in some small and as yet unknown way, these results also illustrate that it would be virtually impossible to demonstrate through epidemiologic study that such an effect actually exists. Notwithstanding the limits of the epidemiologic method, if a significant causal relationship between PM2.5 and mortality existed, that relationship should have been visible in this study. But it was not.

Read the study.

11 thoughts on “EPA air pollution scare debunked by best data set ever assembled on particulate matter and deaths”

  1. Like AGW data sets – past forecasts like Chernobyl are all forced numbers by GRANT SCIENCE – suddenly real Peer Review is being used and guess what the computer modeling software is based on a fallacious data set . .

    Now that the truth is out and the proofs all indicate they have gamed the data for many decades . .

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  2. This appears to cover the short term exposure effects very nicely. I don’t recall seeing any evidence or even models supporting the claim by Jackson and the EPA that there is no safe level of PM2.5 and exposure could result in death in a matter of days. The trouble with that claim was it was falsified by casual observation.
    What happens if the study is expanded to include longer term exposures? Do you start getting some correlation with deaths in the 65+ age group? And how would you separate deaths from PM2.5 from other causes?

  3. Congratulations to Steve Milloy for persevering on this topic and his making this definitive, data-based PM paper available. It will serve as a valuable reference for all of us in combating EPA claims and local governments basing environmental restrictions on such claims.

  4. What of the SILICA sand micro particles that circle the earth from the windstorms in the Gobi Deserts of China. A few years back we had beautiful RED SUNSETS in Texas due to the dust particles in the air from China.

    Silly humans think we can control the global air quality – they can not even do that in NYC.

  5. it won’t stop them you know. The EPA has outlived its usefulness as a massive bureaucracy as people became more aware of the environmental degradation and then passed laws and regulations to combat it.

    Now we really only need the ‘inspector’ role for them, but that would shrink the agency down to a sliver of itself and no bureaucrat would surrender turf and body count. Why they might have take a downgrade!! Quelle horreur!!

  6. Not a good study unless you can compare long term effects. Better to use a panel data set across time and region to study this.

  7. The implicit assumption by the EPA and this analysis is that PM2.5’s are all the same independent of their source and chemistry. This is obvious nonsense and a totally invalid assumption.

    For example, in Huntington Beach, Ca (aka surf city), every little bubble in the surf produces a micro drop of seawater that evaporates into a small salt particle. The concentrations of these small salt particles can be in the 50 µg/M3 range or the same as very bad air days. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/096016869190050H These particle are PM2.5 or less than 2.5 µ — most are even on the small end of PM2.5 particles. However, one of these particles hitting a few µ think layer of mucus in your lungs will just dissolve.

    A similar particle of semi-combused diesel is a different health issue and can be a significant as it contains very toxic organic chemicals on an insoluble carbon particle that your body can’t clear like it can just dissolve that insignificant amount of salt into the billion times more salt already in your blood.

    A similar sized particle of silica or insoluble asbestos is not the same as a bacteria or a particle of alumnosilicate (clay) or a particle of CaCO3 from a cement plant or a Fe3O4 particle from a steel plant or a well fired fly ash particle from a coal fired power plant. We are talking factors of thousands and millions in toxicity and potential harm. Surfers can breath all that PM2.5 all day, every day they can and love every minute of it.

    By basic chemistry and biology not all PM2.5’s are not the same and assuming they are the same is pure “junk science”.

    PS: Those marine PM2.5’s may be harmless to my lungs a provide that “salt air” mental boost, but it is hell on tools that can rust. Those diesel fumes that are hell on my lungs, are fine on my tools.

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