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Killer Ozone? 70

Tufriast writes "This will make you think twice about an H2... The BBC News has reported that the death toll in U.S. cities might have a correlation to the ozone levels in them. The article mentions several major U.S. cities, and notices the upward trend in premature deaths as pollution levels rise. The results can also be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association."
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Killer Ozone?

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  • by El ( 94934 )
    Confusing correlation with cause again, I see... how is this for a theory: perhaps the same crowded conditions that create the accumulation of ozone also create stress in people's lives that makes them more prone to violence?
    • No, of course this study is valid!

      In uninhabited areas where there is no pollution, there has never been a premature death! Not even one!

      Irrefutable proof!
      • Hey, don't diss the study. This is a real breakthrough. They're basically saying that if you breathe poisonous stuff all day it increases your chance of dying prematurely. Astounding!

        • This is a real breakthrough. They're basically saying that if you breathe poisonous stuff all day it increases your chance of dying prematurely.

          And your chance of voting Democrat!


        • And based on study, the chances of you dying prematurely are increased by a whopping .52%. This assumes you are already going to die prematurely. If you start with 0 chance of dying prematurely and move to one of these cities, you will have an increase of .52% over 0. Wow . . . 0%

          So, this is all moot unless you already know what your current chances are of dying prematurely (assuming of course, that you will).

          "It's at the point of uncertainty that all things are possible. This can be a real problem."

          • Heh, what is "premature death" anyway?

            If you died, who's to say that wasn't when you were supposed to die?

            I smell a George Carlin routiene here, but I couldn't hold a candle to that master. :)
    • I am sure they took this into account, by comparing the stress levels and polutions in the cities. They would try to remove all other possible variables before publishing in such a manner.
    • by benhocking ( 724439 ) <> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:46PM (#10844503) Homepage Journal

      Why I agree that using correlation to suggest causation is a very weak argument, there are several other studies that demonstrate that ozone is definitively bad for us. What I don't understand is, how is this news? I was taught this back in the early 80's, based purely off of human physiology data. It was made very clear to us that ozone near the ground was bad, ozone high up in the ozone layer is good, and there's no way (known) to move ozone from the "bad place" to the "good place".

      • exactly my opinion too - is this news ?
        here in belgium in the summer there's sometimes an 'ozone alert', if the measured ozone concentrations get too high then on the news/weather forecast they warn for it, that older people and children shouldn't do any heavy activities in the middle of the day..
          • here in belgium

          Remember, United States.

          The state of Florida was having almost weekly hurricans, I haven't seen a winter with a good (meaning it lasts for more than a day or two!) snow in the last 12 years up here in Seattle Washington,


          oh yah,


          (yes yes always are, but at a rather rapid rate now!)

          and just now, JUST now, the current administration says that there MIGHT be something worth looking into.

          and that they'll get around to it.

          When ever they feel like

    • by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:58PM (#10844647)
      Although I haven't read the study, they could try and control for this. If there are cities that are more densely populated but less polluted, and those cities are still following the ozone/death curve rather than a density/death curve, the case for ozone harming peoples' health is strengthened.
      • I didn't read the study, but did read a version of the article in the LA Times. The study looked at temporal correlations-- high ozone levels for a few days increased the excess deaths for several days. The correlation held even at levels below the federal limit. The study was comparing densly populated areas to themselves as a function of time and ozone level. Ozone is already known to be bad for you to breathe-- if you want a demonstration, go into a small copy room, close the door, and run a thousand
    • I think the Illuminati is trying to do for ozone [] / carbon oxide as they did for sodium fluoride / calcium flouride.
      They will have us mistake the effect of ozone for that of carbon oxide as they hade us mistake the effect of the poison sodium fluoride for the effect of calcium fluoride. See :
      1 []
      2 []
      3 []
      • From []: Also, some cold plasma units have the capability of producing short-lived isotopes of ozone which include O4, O5, O6, O7 etc. These isotopes are even more reactive than O3.

        This is a usage of the term 'isotope' I'm not familiar with. An isotope of an element is an atom with a different number of neutrons, but with similar chemical properties. I've never seen varying numbers of a particular element in a molecule as an 'isotope' before. Is this correct usage?
    • by orangesquid ( 79734 ) <orangesquid&yahoo,com> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @04:08PM (#10845412) Homepage Journal
      Well, a tightly-controlled experiment is much better than a real-life study, any day.

      In fact, you ought to make this double-blind.

      Create two big rooms with machine-regulated environments. One room is full of noxious pollutants. The other room is full of clean air filled with known-harmless (or near-harmless) chemicals that emulate the smell of pollution. Label the rooms, machines, and tanks of supply chemicals with a simple "A" or "B" so those administering the experiment can't influence the participants.

      Now, abduct newborns from hospitals across the world. Do this at as many places as possible, so as to get the best random distribution of human participants. Then, put half (selected randomly) in room A, and the remaining in room B.

      Observe the morbidity and mortality rates over time. When everybody has died, the experiment designers/evaluators will get the data back, match up the data for "A" and "B" with the conditions for each room, and there you go.

      But, there's still a flaw. The administrators might guess which room is truly cleaner based on the health conditions in each. To correct for this, one option is to create a third room that is clean, but sneak in there during the night and randomly kill some participants. Another option is to create dozens of rooms, all with varying amounts of pollution, and give teams of ninjas assignments, distributed randomly (if you just murder the kids in the clean room, you'll end up with similar mortality rates, and no useful result; also, ninjas or something similar must be used, so that the murders can occur without anybody involved in the experiment catching on; the administrators, of course, will be told about the ninjas, but will not know who they intend to attack, nor will they haev any way of detecting them; the murders would, of course, have to be done with poisons that haev very similar effects to long term pollutant exposure).

      There's still a few problems with this set-up; anybody want to take over refining the design from here?
      • I can't quite put my finger on it, and I'm not trying to be alarmist or a Luddite, but it's possible there are some ethical or moral problems in this experiment. Not likely, but still possible.

        We should have legal check it out and get back to us.

      • Tests could be done to simulate this using animals, but there would still be some to argue against it because of ethical and moral concerns.

        And in a truly scientific experiment, I doubt the administrators would kill any participants to skew the results (I realize it was tongue-in-cheek).

        Animal testing, as much as some people despise it, can lead to prolonging human life and improving the quality of human life.
        • Animal testing, as much as some people despise it, can lead to prolonging human life and improving the quality of human life.

          Very true. If it were straightforward to place a number (call it the "Gaia" factor) on the overall health (measured by diversity and stability, perhaps?) of the planet, then we could run simulations to determine how much animal experimentation is fair before we're doing more harm than good.

          But, that kind of thing is horridly complicated, and sounds a lot like the sociopsychomathem
    • Mod parent down (Score:3, Informative)

      by famebait ( 450028 )
      "Not very scientific", "Confusing correlation with cause again, I see... how is this for a theory: perhaps the same crowded conditions that create the accumulation of ozone also create stress in people's lives that makes them more prone to violence?"

      If you want to be scientific, how about starting with actually reading the article you want to discredit? Your criticism is not only ill-founded, you don't even seem to know what claim it is you are trying to refute. Not exacly a shining example of scientific
  • I do not think that H2 means what you think it means.
    • Re:H_2 or O_3? (Score:4, Informative)

      by hopemafia ( 155867 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:48PM (#10844526)
      Actually, I think the submitter was referring to the Hummer2 not diatomic hydrogen.

      But hydrogen is what I thought at first glance too...
      • That would make sense, and does seem more logical than making such an obvious mistake. Didn't occur to me.

      • I thought hydrogen also, I am not up on the latest hummer models...go figure.

        At any rate, do you really think the sort of person who is contemplating buying a hummer is going to be worried about the possible side effects of emmissions on other people?? They already ignored the environment. (and therefore other people)
  • I thought that hot, humid, still weather contributed to the level of ozone in the ground-level air. I know that Atlanta is crisp and clean in the fall/winter and a hazy nightmare in the summer. Is there a connection between hot, stuffy weather and cardiovascular stress, too? Or instead? This sounds a lot more like someone making a bold grab for tenure than good science.
  • Its them damn charged plate air filters!
  • OMG! (Score:3, Funny)

    by JVert ( 578547 ) <{corganbilly} {at} {}> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @03:05PM (#10844706) Journal
    I better turn up my ionizer air filter so i can kill all these ozone pollutants!
  • H2=Hummer2 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    For the love of GM, they aren't talking about Hydrogen. It's the Hummer 2, haven't you ever seen those commercials with the geeky kid who builds one out of wood and kicks the other kids' asses in a race?

    • ...haven't you ever seen those commercials with the geeky kid who builds one out of wood and kicks the other kids' asses in a race?

      Unfortunately, I have. That's the commercial that bastardizes the meaning of The Who's "Happy Jack" and turns it completely on its head.

      The song speaks about a kid who's a little slow who gets abused by pricks and bullies, but who somehow manages to remain upbeat and happy despite their abuse, thus prevailing.

      The commercial seems to highlight the line "they couldn't pr
  • Either everyone is making a bad joke here about H2 meaning hydrogen, or they don't live in an area where the hummer h2 is trendy.

    I'm hoping it's the first one, kinda, although i'd be happy if I never saw an H2 :D
    • Speaking as one of the ones living in an area where the H2 is not trendy (Charlottesville, VA, and I don't think it's a coincidence that we were declared the best city [] to live in the US!), I was not making a bad joke (or even a good one!). That H2 stood for Hummer2 never crossed my mind until someone pointed it out.

      Of course, this gets back to all the other acronym's used on slashdot (e.g., LSB not standing for least significant bit). Whether an acronym/abbreviation is obvious or not depends on one's expe

  • by Sai Babu ( 827212 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @03:48PM (#10845177) Homepage
    "Peaks in air ozone levels were linked with peaks in premature death rates in urban areas across the US"

    It's well known that long term exposure to ground level ozone attacks your lungs and plastic and rubber products (tires, molding on your car, rubberized and vinyl fabrics, etc.)

    This AMA report sez that short term correlation suggests further study. Well of course, you want to know what you're up against.

    It's not the H2 that's the problem. One old V-8 that's exempt from emmission testing and driving around on 6 cylinders causes more of a problem than a hundred hummers.
    The poor need their cars so these things stay on the road.

    • The H2 is a "heavy light-duty" truck, and is allowed to emit much more of most pollutants than a passenger car. See this document. []

      Ironically, many California cities restrict trucks over 6500 lbs GVW to truck routes; they wouldn't have to raise mileage standards to get those Hummers and Durangoes off the roads, all they'd have to do is enforce the truck restrictions they already have.

  • Uhh.. I see that people have failed to mention that pollution in cities has really gone down in the past 50 years. There was a period of time from the industrial revolution where the pollution was particularly bad. Now pollution in major cities is way down. I'm glad they've done the pollution control they've done so far, but there's no reason to get all crazy in thinking that we're totally destroying the earth by our air pollution right now. We're doing a whole lot better than we were about 50 years ago.

    • Uhh.. I see that people have failed to mention that pollution in cities has really gone down in the past 50 years.

      That is if you are talking about air pollution. For other forms of pollution, the story is a little different.

      Go back towards the end of the 19th century and one of the big urban pollution problems was horse manure (I'd rather deal with ozone than finely ground horseshit). One of the big selling points of the electric streetcar was that it didn't have the pollution problems associated with th

    • The air in LA is a lot better than it used to be, but it still sucks a lot of the time (particularly inland). It could be a lot better, and if we don't continue to pay attention to it and control pollution sources it will get worse again.

      I bet the air in LA was a lot cleaner in 1580 than it is now.
      • True. I'm sure there are a number of cities in America that are still fairly polluted. But as a whole, we aren't doing too bad. Let's work to clean up those cities too. But no reason to declare that we're all going to die because we live in cities and the air pollution is killer.
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't laser printers emit a some amount of O3 when charging the paper to make toner stick? Assuming they do, does this mean it may be bad to have all that O3 contained within a room? (And having the source so close to the user can't help either)

    This [] page (dunno if their data is accurate) says "Concentrations of ozone in a room where laser printers are being used can exceed the currently regulated standard for ozone in the outdoor air."

    Huh, guess there's a downside to faste

    • What you want more?

      Yes having a source of any poisonous gas without good ventilation is bad.

      Wich is way any half way decent garage will have a setup to vent the exhaust fans from cars they are working on to the outside.

      Why forklifts dedicated to working inside are electric.

      Why non-smokers want smokers to stand outside in the freezing rain. (well actually this is because we hate the goddamn slackers and their 15 minute smoking breaks every half hour)

      Any decent copier/printer room will have an exhaust sy

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