Monday, March 28, 2011

CPSIA - AAP, Get a Calculator!

In my continuing exploration of the misuse of data by consumer groups to prove up the "need" for the CPSIA, it occurred to me that Dr. Dana Best of the American Academy of Pediatrics can't multiply. She needs a new calculator.

Just an aside: Japanese government officials announced today that radiation OUTSIDE the disabled reactors at Fukushima have now reached LETHAL levels:

"Water in an underground trench outside the No. 2 reactor had levels exceeding 1 sievert an hour, a spokesman for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. told reporters in the capital today. Thirty minutes of exposure to that dose would trigger nausea and four hours might lead to death within two months, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Preventing the most-contaminated water from leaking into the ground or air is key to containing the spread of radiation beyond the plant. A partial meltdown of fuel rods in the No. 2 reactor probably caused a jump in the readings, Japan’s chief government spokesman said today. 'There’s not much good news right now,' said Gennady Pshakin, a former IAEA official based in Obninsk, the site of Russia’s first nuclear power plant." [Emphasis added]

The Japanese situation is a real crisis. The AAP wants you to think lead is also a crisis. It's not.

In my post yesterday, I reported on Dr. Dana Best's testimony in front of the CPSC Commission on February 16th about the purported effects of even trace amounts of lead on the intelligence of our children. While Dr. Best speaks for the AAP on occasion, I know that she doesn't always write her own testimony. Sometimes she reads words written by other people under her own name. In the Spring of 2008, I went looking for Dana Best, and in response to a voicemail I left at her office, Cindy Pelligrini of the AAP called me back. Dana Best never called me back. I was calling in reference to the then pending Illinois lead labeling law which was being propelled by Dr. Best's seminal House testimony on lead (September 20, 2007). In that phone conversation, Ms. Pelligrini acknowledged to me that she had written the September 20th testimony, not Dr. Best, and as a consequence, was the "right person" to talk about its contents. Ms. Pelligrini's qualifications to write House testimony on lead on behalf of a professional association of pediatricians? According to her in our conversation, she holds a degree in political science. She is not a doctor and she is not a scientist as far as I know.

So is it surprising then that Dr. Best got all tangled up in numbers in the recent CPSC testimony? As I noted yesterday, Dr. Best asserted the following: "When averaged across even a modest population of children, the public health harm caused by lead is significant. Considering that there are about 75 million children in our nation, impacting one-half of one percent of all children would mean an exposure of 3.75 million children. . . . For one million children, [the loss of lifetime income from one IQ point per child] would total over $8.3 billion." [Emphasis added]

Okay, let's break out our calculators and check Dr. Best's math. 75 million x 0.005 = 375,000. Oops! Didn't she say that "one-half of one percent of all children" is 3.75 million kids? Hmmm.

[Sidebar - she's almost right about the population of kids, but not quite. According to, there were 75.2 million children living in the U.S. in 2010. Of course, only 50.4 million were under 12 years of age, basically the age bracket covered by the CPSIA. This is not a calculator error, this is just more junk statistics from a so-called "expert". I hope the CPSC Commission employs a fact checker!]

I think that's a big difference. 3.75 million children is 1-in-20 but 375,000 is 1-in-200 (based on a population of 75 million children, an inflated number). Using the more realistic population number of about 50 million, Dr. Best's 3.75 million number is 1-in-13 children. Dr. Best's number suggests that there is likely to be two or more lead poisoning victims in EVERY classroom of children in our country. Do you believe that?

Give me a break. The problem is that there are many people out there who might believe this nonsense. Some of them may be your elected representatives.

Dr. Best goes on to "illustrate" the scope of the "cost" of this poisoning, all based on her assumption of 1-in-13 children losing IQ points. She illustrates the "cost" to society of the loss of a single IQ point on a seemingly "modest" population of 1 million children. [Don't forget, she hasn't produced even ONE victim yet.] Since she is apparently severely math-challenged, let me help you here. One million children is (roughly) 2% of the age range covered by the CPSIA. In other words, it's about 1-in-50 kids. Her "modest" assumption implies at least one brain-damaged child in every other classroom in America, all because of lead-in-substrate in children's products. Her illustration is intended to show that the incredibly "high" cost of the purported lead epidemic justifies the extreme measures of the CPSIA to eliminate lead down to trace levels in children's products.

Do you believe her? Why, exactly? If there are so many damaged children from lead-in-substrate in children's products, why can't the AAP come up with a few and show real case histories? Why won't they talk about real data?

I am not impressed. The AAP holds itself out as an "expert" but puts out junk statistics to back up junk science recommendations. We are being scammed.

You MUST demand of your Congress that they won't be fooled. The age of junk science needs to be brought to an end! Let your voices be heard!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A calculator won't help. Deep seated phobias require professional treatment.