Saturday, July 23, 2005

Money Tox - Particles, and the streets of Cambridge are Paved with Gold

BrooklynDodger couldn't get the full text of the abstracted paper below, so the Dodger can't tell you who sponsored the work, if it were disclosed. The Dodger guesses it's API.

As with the API sponsored Moogavkar paper blogged recently, the sum is, they read the literature on particle toxicology, and don't buy it. Eerily, they end with the tag "not supported by the weight of scientific evidence, although other bases for regulating PM may be justifiable. " Molgavkar said "The Agency could argue that the Science raises concerns about current levels of air pollution, and that reduction of ambient fine particulate matter mass, if it could be achieved without an increase in the level of the ultrafines, could have positive effects on human health. If the Agency justifies a particulate matter mass standard on these grounds then the debate over the form and level of the standard will, for all practical purposes, belong strictly in the Policy arena."

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2003 Dec;38(3):326-35.

Particulate matter in ambient air and mortality: toxicologic perspectives.

Green LC, Armstrong SR.Cambridge Environmental, 58 Charles Street, Cambridge, MA 02141, USA.

U.S. regulations that set standards for acceptable concentrations of respirable particulate matter (PM) in outdoor air, particularly total fine particulate matter (PM(2.5)), are based largely on the belief that current concentrations cause death and illness, and that reducing these concentrations will save lives. Because the mortality risk estimates from important observational epidemiologic studies are extremely weak, derived from studies unable to control for relevant confounding causes, and inconsistent by location, toxicologic and clinical information is necessary to judge the likelihood and degree to which such findings are causal. Toxicologic data on typical forms of pollution-derived PM strongly suggest that current ambient concentrations in the U.S. are too small to cause significant disease or death. We review here the results of inhalation studies using concentrated ambient particles, diesel engine exhaust particulate matter, and sulfate and nitrate salts, and find no evidence that moderate concentrations are lethal. The expectation that lives will be saved by reducing ambient PM(2.5) in the U.S. is not supported by the weight of scientific evidence, although other bases for regulating PM may be justifiable.

No comments: