How stupid is EPA air pollution science? (Part 4)

Today’s lesson comes courtesy of India.

Earlier this month a study presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting claimed that air pollution (mostly fine particulate matter) kills 5.5 million people every year.

The study estimated that 1.4 million of these deaths occurred in India, based on EPA-developed statistical models.

Now today comes a report estimating that (as of 2010) smoking killed about 1.0 million Indians per year.

So in India, breathing the air kills 1.4 million, but smoking kills (only) 1.0 million.

Is Indian air worse than smoking?

In the most polluted cities, Indians may inhale about 2,000 micrograms of PM2.5 per day (about 10 times more than the average America). But a smoker may inhale up to 40,000 micrograms of PM2.5 in 5 to 10 minutes. Smoking an unfiltered bidi may expose a smoker to as much as 180,000 micrograms of PM2.5 in 5 to 10 minutes.

So a pack-a-day smoker may inhale 800,000 micrograms of PM2.5 per day — just from smoking. Someone who smokes 10 bidis per day would inhale 1,800,000 micrograms of PM2.5 per day, exclusive of whatever is in the air. Both exposure are much greater and more intense than the 2,000 micrograms from just breathing Indian air.

Is breathing ambient air more deadly than smoking? Obviously not. And that’s how stupid EPA air pollution “science” is.

3 thoughts on “How stupid is EPA air pollution science? (Part 4)”

  1. The Doll report inferred that smokers on average could indulge their filthy habit from age ~15 to 30 without any diminution of life-expectancy…………..
    The argumentum ad absurdum conclusion [to paraphrase Orwell] would go something like this:
    All PM is dangerous, but tobacco PM is much less dangerous than other types of PM…………………

  2. While I believe the EPA model is wrong, the argument above is a false equivalence. All Indians breath the air, but only a subset smoke. Without more information on percentage of smokers in the population and expected lethality of the types of smoking involved, it is impossible to compare the two values in a meaningful way.

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