Daily Archives: May 18, 2016

“Consensus Messaging” Distorts Science, Ends Discussion

In this paper (here) the authors are basically advocating a “marxist” behaviorism approach to scientific communication. That is, just pull the right levers of society by sending out a “science consensus” message, the public will eventually believe what they are being told, and behave the way the message senders would like them to respond.  However, science does not function based on faulty or biased consensus messaging.  But rather on good, independent, habits of thought. A “consensus message” campaign should quickly trip every readers baloney detector.

For more discussion of the paper mentioned above click here.

Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children; Flint, Michigan

Mona Hanna-Attisha, Jenny LaChance, Richard Casey Sadler, and Allison Champney Schnepp.  Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children Associated With the Flint Drinking Water Crisis: A Spatial Analysis of Risk and Public Health Response.  American Journal of Public Health. 2016;106:283–290. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.303003

Objectives. We analyzed differences in pediatric elevated blood lead level incidence before and after Flint, Michigan, introduced a more corrosive water source into an aging water system without adequate corrosion control.

Methods. We reviewed blood lead levels for children younger than 5 years before (2013) and after (2015) water source change in Greater Flint, Michigan. We assessed the percentage of elevated blood lead levels in both time periods, and identified geographical locations through spatial analysis.

Results. Incidence of elevated blood lead levels increased from 2.4% to 4.9% (P < .05) after water source change, and neighborhoods with the highest water lead levels experienced a 6.6% increase. No significant change was seen outside the city. Geospatial analysis identified disadvantaged neighborhoods as having the greatest elevated blood lead level increases and informed response prioritization during the now-declared public health emergency.

Conclusions. The percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels increased after water source change, particularly in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Water is a growing source of childhood lead exposure because of aging infrastructure.