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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-30-2003 05:47 PM

What about being conservative when it comes to the the health of our children, and our natural resources? I would rather have stringent levels and raise them if the science alows it. The burden of proof is being forced on the wrong side of the issue. Conservatives seem wreckless.
08-30-2003 05:35 PM
flytyer As Bob K put it, "arsenic .... is found universally occurring naturally in ground water in low levels".

Must be the new math I've been hearing math professors talking about the last few years where the operations you use to get the answer are more important than being correct. Let's see: People exposed to elevated levels or arsenic (Taiwan, Argentina, Chile) have higher cancer rates (1) + no data showing that current standards also cause increased cancer rates (0) = a need to make the acceptable level much lower because it has to be better (2). Or (1+0=2) Hmmmmm........ Very interesting.
08-29-2003 11:42 PM
loco_alto Flytyer - not true.

The NAS report used studies of humans to draw their conclusions. Humans in Taiwan, Chile and Argentina. The resulting effects are primarily bladder and lung cancer. nasty.

The only piece of the puzzle that is missing is data from arsenic levels equivalent to the US drinking water standard. That data doesn't exist.

So, to conclude something about these lower exposure levels, NAS considered studies of non-human subjects. These studies show that arsenic exposure at the US standard has ill effects. These ill effects are entirely consistent with studies done on humans at higher exposure levels. Put 1+1 together.
08-29-2003 11:22 PM
Just remember this....

For what it's worth, arsenic is a naturally occurring element, and is found universally occurring naturally in ground water in low levels. Sounds like we are trying to be "too safe" at times.

This is a "POOR CHOICE" for trying to bash the current administration for all of the nonscientists out there trying to make a point.

Also keep in mind that most metals also are naturally occurring (e.g. mercury, etc.) and these also occur in water to varying degrees just from rainfall/ground water coming in contact with ores everytime it rains. Virtually everything has some solubility, that's why we studied "solubility product constants" in college.

ALL pollution is not man-made, contrary to popular opinion.

08-29-2003 11:19 PM
Mean Mr Mustard I, too, believe pollution levels will increase as a result of this change in the Act.

As to the arsenic, is it naturally occuring or introduced by man to facilitate their particular ore extraction method?

08-29-2003 10:59 PM
flytyer Juro,

I coudn't have said it any better. And it is also how information is disseminated in a fashion comprised of good form and without put-downs. The very reasons I have become associated with this forum and the fine folks who participate in it.


Many folks do not not what the subcommittee based its recommendation on for lowering the arsenic levels. However, I take exception to their conclusion that despite the fact that there are zero, nadda, no studies that show there is an increased incidence of cancerous or non-cancerous effects, they decided that the levels should be reduced anyway. And they based this upon how arsenic is absorbed and possibly stored in the human body, observed epidemiological findings (these were with laboratory mice, a species that is remarkably susceptable to cancer), and available information on the variation in the susceptibility of humans to arsenic.

Hmmmmm.... I had several professors who call conclusion of this sort wishful thinking at best and begging the issue at worst since there is no evidence to back the conclusion.
08-29-2003 09:31 PM
juro Flytyer,

Just wanted to say all this hoopla has nothing to do with friendships, in fact it's our freindship that let's us debate such issues so vigorously without fear of taking each other too seriously!

08-29-2003 07:56 PM
loco_alto A summary of the NAS report is available here:

In support of your point:

"No human studies of sufficient statistical power or scope have examined whether consumption of arsenic in drinking water at the current MCL results in an increased incidence of cancer or noncancer effects. Therefore, the subcommittee's characterization of risks at the current MCL is based on observed epidemiological findings, experimental data on the mode of action of arsenic, and available information on the variations in human susceptibility."

Yet, the committee had to draw a conclusion. They used the available evidence from human and cellular based studies to do so conclude:

"On the basis of its review of epidemiological findings, experimental data on the mode of action of arsenic, and available information on the variations in human susceptibility, it is the subcommittee's consensus that the current EPA MCL for arsenic in drinking water of 50 g/L does not achieve EPA's goal for public-health protection and, therefore, requires downward revision as promptly as possible."

The fact that the "perfect" study wasn't available doesn't invalidate their conclusion. Sometimes you just put 1 + 1 together to conclude the obvious. Their recommendation to revise downward as promptly as possible reinforces this.
08-29-2003 07:33 PM
flytyer OC,

Yes, I will concede this is the case. However, our country uses a lot more power today than it did just 10 years ago due to the information explotion known as the internet. And in that time there has not been much in the way of new power getting on-line. The fact is we need to have some more power or many more areas of the country are going to experience the "brown outs" and outright loss of power that happened in CA 2 years ago. The other alternative is for all of us who use technology to use it a lot less, and I don't see that as very viable.

My fantasy is that power would be produced only through non-polluting methods and means and do so without the use of power dams and their riverine destructiveness. Perhaps before I leave this world this will happen.


I am not aware of any study that has been done on the need to lower arsenic levels in drinking water. I am aware that some folks decided that if you lower the allowable level of arsenic, it is a good thing without having done any study to back up the claim that it is too high now. This is not science. The cost of meeting this much lower level is very high though. And virtually every town, city, municipality, etc. in the U.S. would have to invest large chunks of change to meet it. And after doing so, is there really any benefit?
08-29-2003 02:52 PM
loco_alto flytyer - the science is clear on these issues

I won't try to convince someone who considers a marketing ploy for "clean bottled water" as a substitute for scientific study

As someone who has been involved with developing such reports, I can assure that there is no conspiracy or ulterior motive behind it. Public opinion and political self-interest are vastly more squishy than the facts on these issues.
08-29-2003 02:46 PM
OC Sorry my good friend Flytyer there will be more gross air pollution than there is now it just will not go over the permit limits. If you watched the Leher report a couple nights ago the head of air pollution for the EPA even addmitted such after continuously saying that the new standards will have no effect on power companies going over the permitt standard. The question to him would there be more air pollution he just used the permit value as his answer untill he could no longer worm his way out of it and said that pollution would go up but not to worry because it would not exceed permit standards. You and I are both in the enviro work world you know as well as me how the game is played. Double speak, double speak. If the nation wide permit total for air pollution is 200 million tons per year and we are currently at 160 million tons per year and after a couple of years air pollution is 190 million tons then it went up. I don't care about the increase in power I care that we have less air pollution that destroys the lakes on the East coast and effects so many peoples health nation wide.
Have a good weekend and see you soon on the river.
08-29-2003 01:47 PM
flytyer Juro,

You are correct, based upon the information you provided on the wind farm, I was mis-informed. The news media had the wind farm being located on the island. Thnaks for clearing it up for me, and I must say that I too am opposed to placing the wind towers in the bay.


Exactly my point with saying that there will be no net increase in pollution by the power companies. If the total emitted is within the current permit levels and there is more power produced, there is no net gain in pollution while more power is being produced. And this is accomplished at less cost (and with smaller or no rate increases to consumers) than if new plants were built or the older existing ones had to meet the newer more stingent levels.


There has been no determination that lowering the aresenic levels in drinking water would make the water any more safe for us than leaving them where they have been. And, it does not make sense to make the level so low that the vast majority of bottled spring water (which we are told is the purest and best for us since it has none of thos nasty chemicals added to purify it that our water treatment plants must add) would not be able to meet the standard.

Regarding so-called green-house gasses, there has been no conclusive or any proof offered by the proponents of reducing them that any global warming has occured. Local, short-lived increases in temperature have been offered as proof that it is happening, and that is not science, it is wishful thinking or begging the issue. Interestingly, these so-called climate changes have been found to be within normal climate fluctuations here in the U.S. that occur over a 50 to 130 year cycle. And, as is well known, a single, small volcanic eruption puts as much green-houee gas into the atmoshpere as 50 years worth of human activity. There have been quite a few very large vocanic eruptions and a lot of small ones in the last 20 years.
08-29-2003 10:03 AM
Eddie 47% of the voters, voted for this kind of policy. That is almost a majority. Like it or not, pollution and the environment is not a big deal to many.
As for industry, if they went out of business every time regs. were tightened up, they would have been gone long ago.
08-29-2003 09:58 AM
OC Those bumper stickers, "Sportsmen for Bush" are just that. Thank god that fly fishermen concern themselves with conservation issues first and the sportsmenship thing of this era down our list as why we participate in the outdoors. We may not get it right all the time as fly fishermen but our intent is good. We can be proud of that.

To say there will be less air pollution because of the rule changes or the same amount of air pollution is wrong. One must read the language carefully. The Bush administration says that pollution will stay under the current permit level and on that front he is most likely correct. But the majority of the 1700 power plants in this country are below that permit level now and by a fair amount. The rule change is so power companies can make changes that will pollute more than they do now but will increase profit for the companies. No they will not go over the current permit limitations which are artificially too high and have been from day one. Air pollution will go up as will profit.

As for the toughest air quality standards in the world I dought it. Are we not in the lowest 10% for the 30 or so first world countries? Of course there are 90 some odd countries who are not first world who can not afford to clean up their act so if you add us the wealthiest country in the world to the entire countries in the world we do rank high. Big deal, we still consume 25% of the world energy and it's that energy and lax standards to begin with that make the USA as one of the worlds top air polluters only behind China and Russia I'll bet.
08-29-2003 12:41 AM
Originally posted by flytyer
Fifth, several folks in the forum condemned the use of a wind power farm in Mass. This is a non-polluting source of energy that has been in use for quite a while in Mont. Why is it not OK to have it on a coastal island in Mass.? What better way to be environmentally friendly than to use non-polluting, and non-river damming methods to produce power?
I had several comments on 1-4 but this one's all mine

You are misinformed, the proposal for this private venture is not to put the windmills on an island, it's to put them IN THE WATER over several square miles of area in the middle of the sound in shifting sand shoals in the migratory paths of numerous fish and bird species in a fragile environ which is one of the last remaining somewhat pristine areas in the entire region. They may not emit smoke but they will corrode and leak lubricants, involve major construction projects in the water and habitat of millions if not billions of organisms, and worst of all it's hairbrained science fiction at it's best.

Putting the windmills on an island would be fine my me... in fact I proposed the government owned Otis Air Force Base, which is a massive land area closed to public access in one of the largest areas of the cape. If you were familiar with the area you might agree.

We know the power is meaningless anyway, it's only going to be sold into the grid for private gain. There is no power problem on the Cape today that the windmills will solve.

If anyone thinks the multi-year, big bucks construction will have no negative impact via pollutants and other damages to the Nantucket Sound ecosystem during and after construction they are dreaming. If anyone thinks these structures will last out there for any appreciable number of years, they are ignorant. The whole plan is ludicrous.

Put them on an island, yes please - not in the sound!
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