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View Diary: Study: Traffic Related Air Pollution = X3 Chance Of Autism (122 comments)

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  •  Living some place where nobody else wants to live, (5+ / 0-)

    ... like near a Los Angeles freeway, correlates with all kinds of negative outcomes.

    Being poor in America is a dangerous condition, more clearly heritable than many genetic disorders. But it involves a collection of conditions too numerous for some newly discovered correlation to prove that one is a cause and the other an effect.

    If there's something to it, then show it to grad students looking for a topic for further study, but it's really not ready for prime time. We have plenty of reasons to tackle multigenerational poverty, asthma, autism and geographical segregation already without overreacting to one new study.

    Best case, people who already care about social justice get more data to show to people who can't ever be made to care. Worst case, rich parents will read a carelessly interpreted correlation, move their families even farther from their workplaces, and exacerbate the already problematic conditions of traffic, pollution, economic segregation and the social isolation of exurban wastelands.

    Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

    by chimpy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 01:57:03 PM PST

    •  Very well said (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpy, elfling

      Exactly.

      Being poor in America is a dangerous condition, more clearly heritable than many genetic disorders. But it involves a collection of conditions too numerous for some newly discovered correlation to prove that one is a cause and the other an effect.
      •  Food deserts for example (2+ / 0-)

        American politics almost always favors action over study, for things it wants fixed, and vice versa for things it doesn't. If I suddenly had the power to improve life for those living near LA freeways, but were allowed no further study time, I might choose to make some use of this report. Not taking it at face value, but seeing what causes might lead to all of the conditions mentioned.

        I might pick the top five plausible causative paths between the two conditions, and fund the cheapest two or three solutions to any combination of them. What might they be, if I were to follow the American imperative of speaking before studying? For causes, I might guess food deserts keeping expectant mothers from feeding themselves properly, limited access to early medical care, lack of exercise opportunities for expectant mothers and young children, stress of multiple jobs and unpredictable work schedules, and lower availability of preschool and enriching day care. For solutions I might let council choose a few items from the menu of better public transport, favorable planning treatment for neighborhood grocers, tree rows between highways and play areas, strong labor protection, and commitment to education at all levels. But I think we knew that already.

        Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

        by chimpy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:17:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So many excuses (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight

      to ignore addressing the culprit.

      When lead was a problem we addressed lead.

      When asthma results from pollution, we don't ignore the results of the study.

      But when a truly disturbing disease targeting kids threatens our cars, ooooh boy. That's when people put on the blinders.

      •  No blinders here (2+ / 0-)

        Nobody outside the oil lobby thinks sub-10um particulates and NOx's are vitamins. I live near work, and use the family car maybe once a week. I donate to causes and candidates who will help get my economy past its oil and coal dependency. Everyone here ... and chime in if I'm misrepresenting someone's position ... everyone here wishes health and happiness to their countrymen of all races, faiths and economic levels.

        What takes blinders is to believe a simple fix to a such a complicated problem as autism based on a single study in a single city.

        Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

        by chimpy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:24:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You claiming to be against pollution (0+ / 0-)

          doesn't excuse your denial regarding the findings in the study.

          Any oil lobbyist can make the same claim and say the same things you have.

          •  Not even denial of the findings (2+ / 0-)

            Just saying they're inconclusive. And, so are hundreds of other studies of equal merit on similar and disparate topics.

            Would they all demand immediate action based on preliminary data? Should a soldier on patrol empty his clip into every shadow he thinks he sees? Or does he call in to his leader to identify threats and plan responses?

            Would they demand action at all, if the recommended solutions were already necessary for other reasons? If we're already against economic segregation and ecological ruin, would a likely outcome of further study change our priorities?

            Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

            by chimpy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:59:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's the same thing people say about (0+ / 0-)

              climate change - inconclusive.

              It's a responsible study. The world is rarely 100% conclusive.  If you're waiting to be 100% sure, one wonders how many kids will get autism because people like you keep waiting for something that will never come, and how responsibility people like you in our society must take on for being so welcome to risking our kids health.

              Somehow miraculously being sensible and safe with our kids lives only seems to be a problem when it involves doing something powerful corporations don't want us to do.

              What a coincidence.

              If a study implied that living in the ghetto wasn't safe for kids, you'd probably wait to be shot before believing it. Meanwhile, other people's kids continue dying...

              •  And yet, people have been addressing pollution (3+ / 0-)

                In Los Angeles, for decades, continue to do so, and have made huge progress. And, I might add, have made the region more prosperous as a result, in direct defiance of all the gloom and doom predictions of economic calamity if our gas was cleaner or our cars more efficient or our paint less toxic.

                I have literally never come across someone who said, "Well, as long as air pollution doesn't cause autism, have at it."

                I think it's obvious to Angelenos in particular and Californians in general that pollution is bad and that we need to continue to address it with all the tools we can muster. And we've been walking that walk for 50 years, leading the way for the US as a whole.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 03:17:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's great. We addressed pollution (0+ / 0-)

                  such that rich kids in rich neighborhoods are safe from autism while we relegate those stuck along highways to brain damage.

                  Isn't that fab!

                  I know many love it when schools are improved for rich kids while schools for the poor get worse.

                  Great argument.

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