The EPA Strikes – Introduces “Political” Science

 

By Chuck Diaz – 1993

 

In last month’s Speak Up America the lead story was “The Empire Strikes.” It pointed out that if the evil empire wanted to gain support for a one-world government, it would have to make certain moves with popular approval. The example used was invading a country’s sovereignty by delivering food to a starving nation. No one would disagree with such a humanitarian gesture.

It seems the same tactic is being used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change the way we conduct scientific analysis.

While I believe the mere existence of the EPA is unconstitutional, along with most of its regulations, I could probably accept its existence if knew they were playing the game according to the rules of sound science. The problem is the Greens have infiltrated the EPA and they are making up the rules of science as they go along.

A recent article was published in the Investor’s Business Daily, January 28th 1992, entitled “Is EPA Blowing Its Own Smoke.” In it the journalist, Michael Fumento, does a great job of bringing some truth to the recent announcement made by the EPA regarding passive smoke. You may or may not agree with smoking cigarettes, but if you can set aside the emotion of the issue I’m sure all would agree that any decisions made with regard to health in America must be made on sound scientific principles. We can’t accept the scientific conclusions we agree with and denounce the conclusions we disagree with.

In a highly publicized statement EPA Administrator William Reilly stated:

“Taken together, the total weight of evidence is conclusive that environmental tobacco smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers.”

That seems clear enough and those of you against smoking ate it up. Let me remind you again to not let your personal opinion prevent you from listening to the real issue. As Mr. Fumento wrote in his article, “Yet many in the scientific and medical community say the data does not bear out its (EPA’s) conclusion.” He continues by saying “Some scientists and policy analysts who say they couldn’t care less about tobacco company profits or even the rights of smokers are worrying aloud that the EPA report is paving the way for justifying new health-based government regulations and programs without any real science behind them.”

Bonner Cohen, editor of EPA Watch said, “It’s now open season on whatever contaminant the EPA chooses to label the killer contaminant of the week with the effect that once again, Americans are going to be stampeded into fearing a substance for reasons which upon close inspection are scientifically indefensible.”

What scientists are complaining about is the manipulation done by the EPA to achieve the results that would support the statement made by Reilly. Without going into specific details, the EPA changed the way it conducts scientific analysis specifically for this study.

They lowered the “confidence interval,” they combined 11 studies into one even though the studies weren’t done in the same way, and they changed another statistical reporting policy that in the word of Joel Hay, a health economist at the University of Southern California who teaches statistics, “tripled the chance of a mistake due to chance.” In other words, they made it easier to declare something a Class A carcinogen.

While this may not seem important to a layman, statistical significance is a very important factor in achieving scientific: conclusions. Michael Gough, program manager for the congressional Office of Technology Assessment said, “You cannot run science with the government changing the rules all the time.”

Had the EPA not made the changes for this report on tobacco, had they used the same statistical analysis used in all prior reporting the EPA report would show no statistical significance for their claim. As the Business Daily article further points out, it’s like, “moving the goal posts to insure a football that landed on the two-yard line would count as a touchdown.”

It’s pretty apparent the EPA decided to make the announcement and then manipulated the science to support it and that is why the scientists are up in arms. James Enstrom, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA said, “I don’t think it bodes well for the field, it’s going to make it hard to distinguish a real (problem) from a manufactured one using statistical manipulation.”

Just as they did with DDT, Alar, and what they are doing with pesticides and clean water today, the EPA is making it so that no part of our lives will be without some sort of government control. This new tactic to advance a cause by finding something that all will go along with is changing the very nature of our lives and the way we live. We all know smoking is bad for you, and we assume that’s what they were trying tell us. NOT! They wanted to change the rules of science and used a subject you wouldn’t complain about. Again, the Greens have moved their cause forward another step with the introduction of politically correct science at the EPA.

What is even more ironic is that even if we accept the EPA’s new method of statistical analysis, the report attributes 3000 lung cancer deaths a year to passive or environmental smoke. Putting that in perspective is easy when you compare it with, an earlier EPA study that attributes 5000 lung cancer deaths per year to radioactive radon gas. Radon is a radioactive gas that naturally seeps up from the earth and into homes and buildings. Which means you are almost twice as apt to die of radioactive radon gas as you are from passive or environmental smoke. And radon even seeps into a non-smokers house. When’s the last time you had your non-smoking friends’ house checked for radon before you went to dinner?

Another irony, the EPA and the government has for years pushed energy efficient homes and buildings. To do this, you have to seal the structure so the coolness in the summer and heat in the winter can’t escape. This means radon can’t get out either and again radon, according to the EPA, causes almost twice the lung cancer deaths passive smoking does. I wonder if any studies have been made concerning the advent of energy efficiency and increased lung cancer? Where’s the ban on air-conditioned, energy efficient buildings?

To use a term invented by Rush Limbaugh, it’s all psychobabble. But it’s also a way to insure a larger government with more regulations that Americans will mindlessly follow.

 

 Note: The EPA recently determined it does not need scientific basis for water quality criteria and standards it proposes.

 

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