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A Good Example of a Bad Environmental Justice Study


The Post & Email by David Wojick 5/7/2021

Biden’s so-called environmental justice push is going to bring on a big wave of bogus research. A really big report just came out so I want to chop on it a bit. Not just for its specific fallacies, but also as typical of what we are going to see a lot of. As with the climate scare, there is a careful combination of bad modeling plus goofy statistics.

In fact the term “environmental justice” just means unhappy environmental statistics with a racial or ethnic focus. That the situation described is somehow deliberately unjust is assumed but often false. It certainly is false in this case. The concept of environmental injustice tends to be more emotional than rational.

In this case the Washington Post’s screaming headline is typical: “Deadly air pollutant ‘disproportionately and systematically’ harms Americans of color, study finds“. The fine print sub-headline summarizes the supposed science: “Black, Latino and Asian Americans face higher levels of exposure to fine particulate matter from traffic, construction and other sources“.

The research report in question is “PM2.5 polluters disproportionately and systemically affect people of color in the United States” by Assistant Professor Christopher Tessum et al. It appears in Science Advances, the open access adjunct to the once prestigious Science magazine, which is now fully climate alarmist. Environmental justice alarmism is the new wave.

There are three central issues here: (1) harm, (2) disproportionately and (3) systematically. Let’s look at each in turn.

The supposedly deadly pollutant here is not a substance, just a size. It is called fine particulates, or more technically PM2.5. Anything smaller than 2.5 microns is included, which is so small it is invisible. Natural cases include viruses, bacteria, and ordinary dust. Your dust cloths and sweeper bag are full of it. Human sources include soot from combustion and dust from construction. There are also a host of large molecules that form in the air via chemical reactions with emitted gasses. These can be either human or natural, such as the vast quantities of volatile organic compounds produced by forests.


Sled Dog:
So the EPA is a saying POX need to continue to wear masks?   And that working Americans should be taxed to pay for this?

Or is it that the country has to have more golf carts on the streets?

BTW, does the study make ANY effort to sort out the pathological effects of weed and tobacco smoking from the effects of minor atmospheric pollutants?    If a person who smokes too much dies from a self-inflicted drug overdose after breathing city air while a cop has he knee on the side of the person's neck, not in any way obstructing the moron's airflow, how many of the people who breathed in the smoke from the ensuing engineered riots are counted as dying from air particulate injustices?


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