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Monday, June 29, 2015

Five demented opinions today in the Supreme Court...and four healthy ones

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/22/supreme-court-mercury-rule_n_7640722.html 

"...cutting-edge research suggests that these particles play a role in some of humanity's most terrifying and mysterious illnesses: degenerative brain diseases."

"We should get out of here," says (MIT research) chemist Eben Cross. At 7 a.m. on this cold November day the wind blows steadily through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Cambridge campus, cutting through our thin jackets. But Cross isn't afraid of the cold. He worries about the air we're breathing—especially considering the six fire trucks directly ahead, idling in the dim morning light. "We're getting hammered right now," Cross says, shouting over the hum of the engines. He's taken his gloves off to manipulate the display panel on his pollution monitor. The acrid smell of diesel is unmistakable. "Anytime you can smell it, you are in a regime that is very polluted," he says. "In many ways your nose is a better mass spectrometer than any device on the market."
Cross' monitor measures the presence of microscopic particles suspended in the air. Earlier, in his home, the device reported average concentrations of between 10,000 and 100,000 airborne particles per cubic centimeter of air (the latter after he burned some toast). Now it detects millions. The massive size of the fire trucks' engines, combined with their inefficient combustion in cold weather, means that the air reaching us is replete with fine and ultra-fine particles—specks of waste at least 36 times finer than a grain of sand, often riddled with toxic combinations of sulfate, nitrate and ammonium ions, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. Though we have long known that these tiny particles cause and exacerbate respiratory problems—like asthma and infections and cancers of the lungs—they are also suspected to contribute to a diverse range of disorders, from heart disease to obesity. And now cutting-edge research suggests that these particles play a role in some of humanity's most terrifying and mysterious illnesses: degenerative brain diseases."



Note to Pennsylvanians: Every year in Pennsylvania the natural gas industry emits 4,790 tons of VOCs, 677 tons of air toxics, and over 133,000 tons of methane.