Asserting deadly air as non-deadly is to, flat out, be ignorant of the facts


  1. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board, in Belgium’s, Meuse Valley in 1930, pollution emitted into the air from industrial sources left 60 people dead with thousands sickened due to exposure to such.
  2. Also via the same source, in 1948, in the United States in Donora, Pennsylvania an uncontrolled industrial release of emissions resulted in the deaths of 20 persons and sickened animals and people alike with as many as 6,000 of the town’s 12,000 people so-affected.
  3. Four years later, the first infamous London, England “Killer Fog” of 1952, was responsible for the deaths of some 4,000 of its residents.
  4. While four years hence in 1956 in the same exact place, another thousand lives were claimed from yet a second “Killer Fog.”

(Disclosure: To be clear, as to the last two entries above, the 5,000 or so total deaths attributed to “Killer Fog” in London, England in both 1952 and 1956, was due mainly to pollution in the air and not the fog – the latter – an atmospheric condition – is what prevented the pollution from quickly dissipating).

From the above four incidents, it is indeed evident that with respect to the air pollution detailed above, it can most definitely kill. So, if anyone says that pollution in our air does not have a direct and negative affect on human health, I say that’s a load of malarkey.

So, who says otherwise?

Bakersfield Californian op-ed writer Lois Henry, for one.

Henry, in “Unchecked science no basis for onerous air rules,” (second article in the grouping), in no uncertain terms, wrote: “No, our air isn’t killing us,” arguing, in effect, that there is evidence to support such claim.

She goes on to state: “I’ve written about the problem of using unverified studies to gin up regulations for years as that’s the standard MO [modus operandi] of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).”

Then there is this from the columnist: “Problem is no one knows for sure. And, there’s a lot of evidence no one is dying at all, but you can’t check.”

No one is dying?!

I’m pretty sure the World Health Organization (WHO), for one, would beg to differ.

Okay, so check this out.

From “Putting into context air pollution statistical ‘estimates’,” on the Air Quality Matters blog in Jun. 2014, I wrote:

“The WHO identifies specific linked diseases such as acute lower respiratory infections in children, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ischaemic heart disease, lung cancer and stroke with the following breakdowns for both indoor and outdoor pollution:

“Indoor air pollution-caused deaths (in percent):

  • Acute lower respiratory infections in children – 12
  • COPD – 22
  • Ischaemic heart disease – 26
  • Lung cancer – 6
  • Stroke – 34

“Outdoor air pollution-caused deaths (in percent):

  • Acute lower respiratory infections in children – 3
  • COPD – 11
  • Ischaemic heart disease – 40
  • Lung cancer – 6
  • Stroke – 40”

Notice the words “air pollution-caused deaths.”

If such were not the case, then it seems one would run the risk of their credibility being put on the line in so stating.

For those with dissenting voices, I wonder if any of the dissention stems from what’s listed on official death certificates as the “cause of death” specifically as it pertains to those whose deaths are directly attributed to polluted air – I’m curious if the words “air pollution” or something similar has ever been entered on said death certificates as the official determined, definitive cause and thus documented as such.

I know of at least one person whose cause of death on said death certificate was identified or listed as Mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer. This deadly disease is tied to exposure to asbestos.

And, I would have to believe asbestos in the air qualifies as pollution.

If further proof is needed, re-refer to Incidents 1-4 above.

Image above: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

– Alan Kandel

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