Daily Archives: October 21, 2014

Improving Drinking Water Research Credibility

There is a great need for this type of reform in drinking water research, especially on the health effects and benefits side. The same arguments should apply to research used to support regulatory policies, many of which are poorly conceived will little scientific support.

Ioannidis JPA (2014) How to Make More Published Research True. PLoS Med 11(10): e1001747. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001747

Summary Points

  • Currently, many published research findings are false or exaggerated, and an estimated 85% of research resources are wasted.
  • To make more published research true, practices that have improved credibility and efficiency in specific fields may be transplanted to others which would benefit from them—possibilities include the adoption of large-scale collaborative research; replication culture; registration; sharing; reproducibility practices; better statistical methods; standardization of definitions and analyses; more appropriate (usually more stringent) statistical thresholds; and improvement in study design standards, peer review, reporting and dissemination of research, and training of the scientific workforce.
  • Selection of interventions to improve research practices requires rigorous examination and experimental testing whenever feasible.
  • Optimal interventions need to understand and harness the motives of various stakeholders who operate in scientific research and who differ on the extent to which they are interested in promoting publishable, fundable, translatable, or profitable results.
  • Modifications need to be made in the reward system for science, affecting the exchange rates for currencies (e.g., publications and grants) and purchased academic goods (e.g., promotion and other academic or administrative power) and introducing currencies that are better aligned with translatable and reproducible research.

Coal Seam Gas or Clean Drinking Water, A False Choice

This author offers readers a false choice. Either coal seam gas OR clean drinking water. This is rather silly as our experience has shown that both are certainly achievable at the same time.

“Australia is lucky enough to have some of the highest quality drinking water in the world, due in no small part to the protection of our drinking water catchments. NSW governments from both sides of politics have prioritised the security of the special areas of Sydney’s drinking water catchments, where water collects for use by our cities and towns. These special areas of bush and vegetation function like a buffer and filter that stop contaminants and pollution before they can make their way into our drinking water.” click here

Communal Fluoridation will not Achieve “Equity” in Dental Health

This is a typical “pro fluoride” study that compares 2 groups: one with fluoride, one without fluoride. Given the limits of the methodology such studies simply end up finding what has been assumed from the beginning with regard to the “effectiveness” of fluoride. The “benefit” observed is attributed incorrectly to the difference in fluoride concentration. But the more important conclusion here is that differences in fluoride are not enough to close the “gap” between the two groups. Apparently this finding is new to some people, but it is not really new at all. Pushing addition of fluoride as a “solution” to bring “equity” in dental health between different ethnic groups is to continue to push a placebo thereby avoiding responsibility to develop real solutions. The sacred cow of communal fluoridation needs to be pushed aside.

Lalloo R, Jamieson LM, Ha D, Ellershaw A, Luzzi L. Does fluoride in the water close the dental caries gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children? Aust Dent J. 2014 Oct 18. doi: 10.1111/adj.12239.

BACKGROUND: Indigenous children experience significantly more dental caries than non-Indigenous children. This study assessed if access to fluoride in the water closed the gap in dental caries between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. The sacred cow of communal fluoridation needs to be pushed aside.

METHODS: Data from four States and two Territories were sourced from the Child Dental Health Survey (CDHS) conducted in 2010. The outcomes were dental caries in the deciduous and permanent dentitions and the explanatory variables were Indigenous status and access to fluoridated water (≥0.5 mg/L) prior to 2008.

RESULTS: Dental caries prevalence and severity, for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, in both dentitions, was lower in fluoridated areas compared to non-fluoridated areas. Among non-Indigenous children, there was a 50.9% difference in mean dmft scores in fluoridated (1.70) compared to non-fluoridated (2.86) areas. The difference between Indigenous children in fluoridated (3.29) compared to non-fluoridated (4.16) areas was 23.4%. Among non-Indigenous children there was a 79.7% difference in the mean DMFT scores in fluoridated (0.68) compared to non-fluoridated (1.58) areas. The difference between Indigenous children in fluoridated (1.59) and non-fluoridated (2.23) areas was 33.5%.

CONCLUSION: Water fluoridation is effective in reducing dental caries, but does not appear to close the gap between non-Indigenous children and Indigenous children.

Groundwater Quality in Northern Bangladesh

Islam MJ, Hakim MA, Hanafi MM, Juraimi AS, Aktar S, Siddiqa A, Rahman AK, Islam MA, Halim MA. Hydrogeochemical quality and suitability studies of groundwater in northern Bangladesh. Journal of environmental biology. 2014 Jul;35(4):765-79.

Agriculture, rapid urbanization and geochemical processes have direct or indirect effects on the chemical composition of groundwater and aquifer geochemistry. Hydro-chemical investigations, which are significant for assessment of water quality, were carried out to study the sources of dissolved ions in groundwater of Dinajpur district, northern Bangladesh. The groundwater samplish were analyzed for physico-chemical properties like pH, electrical conductance, hardness, alkalinity, total dissolved solids and Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+, CO3(2-), HCO3(-), SO4(2-) and Cl- ions, respectively. Based on the analyses, certain parameters like sodium adsorption ratio, soluble sodium percentage, potential salinity, residual sodium carbonate, Kelly’s ratio, permeability index and Gibbs ratio were also calculated. The results showed that the groundwater of study area was fresh, slightly acidic (pH 5.3-6.4) and low in TDS (35-275 mg I(-1)). Ground water of the study area was found suitable for irrigation, drinking and domestic purposes, since most of the parameters analyzed were within the WHO recommended values for drinking water. High concentration of NO3- and Cl- was reported in areas with extensive agriculture and rapid urbanization. Ion-exchange, weathering, oxidation and dissolution of minerals were major geochemical processes governing the groundwater evolution in study area. Gibb’s diagram showed that all the samples fell in the rock dominance field. Based on evaluation, it is clear that groundwater quality of the study area was suitable for both domestic and irrigation purposes.

Emerging Contaminants in the Urban Water Cycle

Pal A, He Y, Jekel M, Reinhard M, Gin KY. Emerging contaminants of public health significance as water quality indicator compounds in the urban water cycle. Environment international. 2014 Oct;71:46-62. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.05.025.

The contamination of the urban water cycle (UWC) with a wide array of emerging organic compounds (EOCs) increases with urbanization and population density. To produce drinking water from the UWC requires close examination of their sources, occurrence, pathways, and health effects and the efficacy of wastewater treatment and natural attenuation processes that may occur in surface water bodies and groundwater. This paper researches in details the structure of the UWC and investigates the routes by which the water cycle is increasingly contaminated with compounds generated from various anthropogenic activities. Along with a thorough survey of chemicals representing compound classes such as hormones, antibiotics, surfactants, endocrine disruptors, human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, X-ray contrast media, pesticides and metabolites, disinfection-by-products, algal toxins and taste-and-odor compounds, this paper provides a comprehensive and holistic review of the occurrence, fate, transport and potential health impact of the emerging organic contaminants of the UWC. This study also illustrates the widespread distribution of the emerging organic contaminants in the different aortas of the ecosystem and focuses on future research needs.

Blind Advocacy on “Climate Change”is Indeed Blinding

The book “Merchants of Doubt” is now a movie coming soon. Sure to stir up unsuspecting but sincere viewers with a distorted message that poisons the well as well as poisoning the science.  Blind advocacy such as this is indeed blinding these “historians” into viewing the history of science to fit their advocacy. 

“Ms. Merchants of Doubt is directed by Robert Kenner and based on the 2010 book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, two esteemed historians of science. The film, simultaneously entertaining, instructive and extremely important, traces the techniques through which profit-seeking corporations seek to undermine honest science in the public mind so that they might continue to make money poisoning our bodies and destroying our planet.” click here

Gastroenteritis and Tap Water Quality in Nantes Area Tap Water, France

Other studies such as this have been completed. Given the limitations of the methodology the results are only suggestive at the very best.

Beaudeau P, Zeghnoun A, Corso M, Lefranc A, Rambaud L. A time series study of gastroenteritis and tap water quality in the Nantes area, France, 2002-2007. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2014 Mar-Apr;24(2):192-9. doi: 10.1038/jes.2013.5.

In the Nantes area, 410,000 inhabitants are supplied with water pumped from the Loire River. The treatment of this water is carried out through a process of complete clarification and disinfection. During the study period (2002-07), the quality of drinking water complied with European microbial standards and mean turbidity in finished water was 0.05 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units). We aimed to characterize the link between produced water turbidity and other operational data and the incidence of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in the Nantes area. The daily number of medical prescriptions for AGE was drawn from the French national health insurance system’s drug reimbursement data. We modeled this time series using Poisson regression within the framework of a Generalized Additive Model. We showed that an interquartile range turbidity degradation (0.042-0.056 NTU) was connected to a 4.2% (CI95=(1.5%; 6.9%)) increase in the risk of AGE in children and a 2.9% (CI95=(0.5%; 5.4%)) increase in adults. The slope of the turbidity risk function was higher during both high- and low-water conditions of the river. High values of daily flow of produced water were also associated with higher endemic levels of AGE.

Click here for full paper (fee).