The Politics of Health Studies
Why Epidemiology Doesn’t Work
The truth has been silenced and manipulated in the Greater Pottstown Area since at least 1998, by the health department, DEP, and our state elected officials.
- Silence and manipulation sacrificed more unborn babies, children, and adults.
- The political will to hide the truth has led to more chronic and debilitating disease than ever before, especially for our children.
» PA Cancer Registry data show childhood cancer rates have risen continuously since the late 80’s, and are now soaring above the national, state, and tri county averages by 90% to 100% in the late 90’s.
- Even these shocking childhood cancer statistics have not led those in power to demand reductions of environmental health risks to our children. There is additional alarming evidence of harm.
» Infant mortality is high.
» Anecdotal evidence suggests learning disabilities and ADD/ADHD are far above the state average.
» Asthma and other respiratory illnesses appear to be out of control.
» Endometriosis and reproductive problems are of great concern.
- Without regret or remorse, it appears state officials and agencies are plotting another cover up.
- Instead of help, we’re getting another cancer study, when PA Cancer Registry data was already gathered and reported in September, 2002, by a national statistician, at no cost to taxpayers.
- Representative Dailey’s Cancer Study can be expected to be "inconclusive by design." It can be expected to be used by Waste Management as a tool for landfill expansion, just as the MCHD’s was in 1998.
- Dailey’s $290,000 Cancer Study will not prevent additional environmental health risks and will not help even one victim of exposure.
- It appears Representative Dailey is using epidemiology to do another cancer study, which actually promotes dehumanization in toxic damaged communities and violates our human rights. Not one epidemiology study has actually ever helped
» in removing the sources of pollution
» getting health care
» bringing assistance to the affected community
» or improving the quality of life for the affected population
Rep. Mary Ann Dailey claims we need a "scientific" study. Historically, Dailey’s kind of "scientific" study has been politically and blatantly manipulated to say whatever the promoter of the study wants it to say. Some flaws of other "scientific" studies and tactics used to hide the truth:
- Deliberately skewed numbers
Averaging out numbers
Selective elimination of numbers or populations
- Using inaccurate or even fraudulent baseline data
- Only looking at cancer as a study outcome
- Politicians forcing scientists to change data to show what the political "will" wants it to show, instead of reality.
Montgomery County Health Department, when asked to look for a link between the Pottstown Landfill and elevated cancers in the Greater Pottstown Area, used the following tactics
- Left out vital information, such as P.O. Box numbers closest to the landfill.
- Eliminated certain kinds of cancers
- Claimed there was no link when they never looked
- Evidence was presented to the MCHD showing a link, which they ignored
Why would scientists and academia cause the public to be further at risk by using these tactics? Why do they look the other way and not stand up for what is ethically right?
- organizational loyalty
- fear of losing one's position
- fear of losing one's reputation
Why the Science of Epidemiology Does Not Work
in Toxic Damaged Communities.
1. Powers who design a study, like Representative Dailey, do not want to find any problems.
a. Finding health problems would mean someone would have to be held responsible for those problems. Government and industry don’t want that to happen.
2. There is no such thing as an “unbiased scientific study.” The following things make a difference in how a study will be executed and analyzed.
a. how you ask questions
b. who you ask questions to
c. what kinds of information you decide to ask or not ask
d. how you perceive the population you are studying
e. the reason for the study
f. what science you are basing the study on
g. even race or culture of the scientist
3. Attitudes of those doing the "scientific" study toward the public can be demeaning. Officials like Representative Dailey try to make the public believe they simply cannot understand the rigors or complexity of the science and that the science itself is the goal, not the well being of the people being studied. A demeaning attitude produces an amoral mentality, which closes off the mind to the total picture and all evidence of harm in a toxic damaged community.
a. Rep. Dailey has repeatedly displayed a demeaning attitude toward the public.
b. Mary Ann Dailey has a closed mind about the evidence of harm.
c. Dailey seems to believe government’s own research is invalid and apparently gives the PA Cancer Registry data no credibility. Ironically, this is the very same data she is using for her cancer study.
d. We believe Dailey was trying to use her cancer study to further her political agenda. Dailey is playing political games at the expense of our families.
e. Sadly, the kind of "science" Dailey is using will not solve our problems, and instead cause those problems to increase.
4. The statistical data that formulates standards with which these kinds of studies are based on for probability of death, injury or health consequence have all been based on hypothesis, computer modeling, cost benefit, or even fraud.
a. Science is continuously adjusting itself to accommodate increases of disease. We increase standards or allowable risks based on increases of diseases.
b. This allows more and more people to die from cancer and other serious illnesses.
5. Epidemiology was developed to look at epidemics, not victims of multiple toxic exposures in over exposed and damaged communities such as the Greater Pottstown Area.
This requires a single virus, bacteria, or agent having a single exposure which is known to cause certain symptoms in very large populations.
» Toxic-damaged communities need to be evaluated with a whole new approach to toxic exposure problems, not with epidemiology which was designed for epidemics.
1) Most toxic damaged communities studied are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands of chemicals daily, over a long period of time, just as Greater Pottstown Area residents.
» Epidemiology studies have been a miserable failure in determining health risks from pollution in toxic damaged communities, and have brought no relief or help for pollution problems or victims of exposure. Why would we continue to waste time and money on this science?
2) Symptomology can vary as widely as there are individuals exposed.
3) People’s race, culture, genetics, body weight, current health, gender and age all determine how a person will develop certain diseases from chemical and radiation contamination.
4) Proximity to the major sources of pollution plays a role in the degree of health risk from the chemicals, radiation and metals emitted.
5) The type of hazardous substance, the body dose, and conversion chemicals that are made outside and inside the body.
6) Body dose reconstruction has been a miserable failure in "scientific" studies over that past 20 years. You cannot "authentically" reconstruct a single or multiple dose of any chemical, radiation, or heavy metal in an individual or community and predict disease.
7) Most toxic populations are too small for epidemiology to be used.
8) It makes no sense to use control populations who have the same or higher exposures. This comparison tells us nothing. Both areas are overexposed and damaged. What difference does it make how they compare with each other?
» With all the above flaws of epidemiology for toxic damaged communities, it appears Representative Dailey has chosen this failed "bad science" to determine our health risks from major pollution sources.
» Epidemiology can not and will not "scientifically" determine the damage to people in the Greater Pottstown area or lead to the help we need.
- Dailey is wasting $290,000 of tax payer money on a study which will not "scientifically" tell us what we need to know to determine our risks or to get help.
- Dailey chose to only count cancer statistics again.
- Dailey refused to look holistically at our toxic problems.
- Dailey has no goals or plans for prevention of toxic exposure from the two major sources of the most hazardous emissions in our community.
6. It’s "Bad Science" to say that we are not statistically significant.
What about the human issue of statistical significance?
How can we allow our government and polluting industries to say who "is"
statistically significant and who "is not"? How dare they say anyone is not "statistically significant," based on how much it will cost industry to not make that person sick or cause their death?
- We must begin to reject the idea that there are acceptable risks or statistical significance when toxic exposures are preventable.
- Health studies cost the taxpayers vast amounts of money.
- Findings are most always said to be "not statistically significant" or (in a far more misleading way) it is said that "evidence was lacking" or "no evidence was found", (when they didn’t look for it).
This is not only bad science, it is indefensible and immoral. The result of Representative Dailey’s study will likely cause our toxic damaged community to be further jeopardized and delay help for victims of exposure.
Every delay causes people in the Greater Pottstown Area to have higher body burdens of chemicals which cause;
- cancer and tumors
- brain and nervous system damage
- immune system damage
- reproductive problems and birth defects
- respiratory problems and severe asthma
- and many other health problems
- fetuses and children under two are 15 times more vulnerable to the toxic chemicals emitted in the Greater Pottstown area.
- Children 3 to 15 are 3 times more vulnerable.
With every delay, fraudulent study or propaganda the hidden costs to society explodes.
1) Special educations classes in schools increase
2) More handicapped or mentally challenged facilities are necessary
3) There are more loss of days at work and school
4) There are more charges to health insurance from those who have chronic illnesses
5) Health care costs in the zip codes of increased risks go higher.
6) Families end up in divorce because the pressure of a disabled child or adult is more than the family can bear.
7) Social Security disability roles are overloaded.
8) Trillions of dollars are needed for DOE, DOD, and Superfund costs of clean up in communities such as ours.
9) There is an irreplaceable loss of parents for children and loss of children for parents to disease and death.
Toxic Exposure Health Threats are Preventable
There are alternatives and real pro-active solutions which can
- prevent health problems
- promote safer alternatives
- unveil the secrecy that keeps us spiraling downward into more pollution and failing health
Environmental illnesses linked with toxic exposure are preventable.
- For the sake of our children we can no longer accept controlling pollution at the end of the pipe, instead of demanding prevention and zero tolerance policies.
- We can no longer accept the irresponsible permitting for poisons to be emitted into our air and water, using unprotective standards, regulations, and guidelines.
- We must demand policies that force polluting industries to prove their chemicals and other toxic substances are safe before they are released into community air and water.
"Cost – Benefit Analysis" just be abolished. It is a system which measures a human life on how much it will cost industry. We can no longer accept this system which allows more people to be exposed, get sick, and die if the cost is too high for industry to do the safest thing.
- This system reduces people to numbers for political or monetary gain.
- It dehumanizes by "negating our fundamental needs as living beings."
- Scientists have been the political allies in designing and promoting this "framework for bureaucratic ecocide."
The framework for bureaucratic ecocide is a framework that depends on secrecy, political domination, and fear.
"Secrecy" must be ended.
- Secrecy is the framework for all human rights violations.
- It fortifies dehumanization.
- It creates hierarchical structures which give information to a few, while everyone else is ignorant to the full impacts.
- Secrecy demands organizational loyalty, based on fear and a sense of duty.
We must stop bad science and useless epidemiology studies that are done to promote industry or government policy. We must dismantle the alter of science so that society can stop worshiping at its feet.
- Science has asked us to ignore our common sense and logic.
- Science has asked us to give up a spiritual concept of the whole of something and take it apart to look at the smaller parts.
- Science is not a democracy. Its purpose is totally self-serving.
Standards we continue to base epidemiological studies and other science on should be totally reexamined and new standards should be developed based on data derived from clinical data.
- The clinical data must be scrutinized by the public and scientists that do not have any monetary gain by the results.
The only way we are going to be able to get a real understanding of the subtle effects of chemical and radiation exposure is to do clinical studies on targeted populations by doctors and scientists living in the community while the study is being done.
- Every community should be educated on the pros and cons of doing health studies from groups like the Environmental Health Network.
- The overall health of the community being studied should be the goal.
- The goal should NOT be counting the number of people who have cancer.
- No studies should be done in communities without their full knowledge or consent. Dailey worked on this behind closed doors, without input from interested citizens in the community since at least September, 2000, when she was asked to do a comprehensive health initiative to include all symptoms of environmental exposure. Most people who know what is going on in the community did not want Dailey to use $290,000 to look at only cancer again.
- Common sense suggests the updated cancer statistics from September, 2002 were adequate to know there is a huge problem and that Representative Mary Ann Dailey should be spending $290,000 of taxpayer money to look for solutions and prevention, not count cancer victims again.
- Even if the community consented to this cancer study, they should have been offered to have a panel of experts and advocates, of their choice, to be paid through the grant funding of the study.
It is ACE’s position that if a health study does not provide long term clinical oversight of the affected population, or does not provide any proactive help for their health and environmental problems, then the study should be stopped and the taxpayer money should not be wasted.
- We must begin to reject studies that are inconclusive by design before money and time are wasted and the community suffers more harm.
- If Dailey’s concern was for the affected population, she would have stopped her cancer study after the updated cancer statistics were reported at no cost to the taxpayers. She would have found a way to use the funding to provide clinical oversight and proactive help.Sadly, she ignored all the evidence of harm and continued on her path to prove there is no problem.
Sadly, corporations own our political system, manipulate our agencies, elect our judges, representatives, and our presidents. To stop the poisoning of people and our environment, we must demand campaign finance reform and take our right to vote seriously.
- Who has the money is directly related to who has the power.
- Who has the power is directly related to who has the access to our politicians.
Our bureaucratic framework needs a shake up and wake up from you, the citizens of the Greater Pottstown Area. We must also become active participants in pro-active solutions that serve people in having a better quality of life.
P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464
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