In the spirit of our 1999 debunking of the dioxin scare via original research, we now turn our sights on EPA’s air pollution hysteria.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asserts that high ambient ozone exposures increase hospital emergency admissions. EPA claims, for example, that reducing the 8-hour ozone standard from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 65 ppb would reduce the number of asthma exacerbations by 38,000 and related hospitalizations by 11,000 annually.
So we undertook to compare ozone levels with hospital admissions for asthma in Los Angeles, which has some of the “worst” air quality in the U.S.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, we obtained the daily tally of hospital admissions for asthma from the Veterans Administration West Los Angeles Medical Center for the period June 1 2011, to August 31, 2011.
We correlated these tallies with daily ozone maximums as collected by the California Air Resources Board for the South Coast Air Basin, the air quality management district that includes the Los Angeles area.
The Pearson correlation between ozone levels in the Los Angeles’ area and hospital admissions was −0.0088 with a 95% confidence interval of (-0.213, 0.196).
This result indicates that maximum ozone levels in the Los Angeles area were not correlated with admissions for asthma at the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center during June-August 2011.
During the study period, the South Coast air basin failed to meet EPA ozone standards 71 out of 92 days (i.e., 77% of the time). This is among the worst, if not the worst, air quality in the U.S.
So if ambient ozone was associated with hospital admissions for asthma, one could reasonably expect to find a correlation in these data. But we did not.