When NGO’s like the American Lung Association go bad, even the alarmist EPA has to disavow them

From The Center for Regulatory Solutions via press release:

EPA Official Disavows American Lung Association Air-Quality Claims

By Karen Kerrigan

An official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has disavowed the American Lung Association (ALA) for misrepresenting federal air quality data.  The ALA’s report is being used around the country to support the EPA’s tighter ozone standard, but this is not the first time the report’s “findings” have been criticized or questioned. The latest criticism strikes yet another blow against the credibility of the ALA, which is leading the charge to dramatically tighten the federal ozone standard – despite strong objections from a bipartisan coalition of local and state officials, labor unions and business leaders from across the economy.

Region 7 EPA spokesman David Bryan took aim at the ALA’s “State of the Air” report, which gave an “F” to Cedar County – population 13,952 – in southwestern Missouri. As the Cedar County Republican reports:

“The EPA has nothing to do with that report,” Bryan said of the ALA State of the Air report. He said the report gives a grade and his agency has nothing to do with grades. According to Bryan, the ALA report “takes a hodge podge of statistics” in creating its grades. …

Bryan said he would expect Cedar County to be on the positive side of the EPA’s standards used to determine if the community has too much ozone in the air, and would expect it to continue to meet new EPA standards set to be released in October.

This fact-check from EPA’s regional office in the Kansas City suburbs is remarkable, given how closely the agency’s political appointees and White House officials have been working with the ALA in Washington, D.C. But it’s also consistent with the growing chorus of criticism of the ALA outside of the nation’s capital, in the communities that will suffer the hardship created by lowering the federal ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) into the range of 65 to 70 ppb.

The timing of the EPA criticism could not be worse for the ALA, which is trying to restore its credibility by pushing a new opinion poll on the ozone debate. The ALA claims that the poll shows widespread public support for tighter ozone limits, but the questions behind the poll contain the same misleading claims and omissions that shredded the group’s credibility in the first place.

ALA’s Growing List of Critics

EPA Region 7: “The EPA has nothing to do with that report,” EPA spokesman David told the Cedar County Republican. Bryan said the ALA’s “State of the Air” report used “a hodge podge of statistics” to give a rural county in southwestern Missouri an “F” grade when the area’s air quality trends are positive.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: State air quality officials in Colorado said the ALA’s State of the Air report is “both inaccurate and misrepresents air quality in Colorado.” The officials also complained “it makes our jobs harder when positive trends are being spun the exact opposite way.”

The Denver Post: When the ALA falsely claimed that ozone levels in Colorado have increased since the 1970s, the group was debunked by Denver Post editorial page editor Vincent Carroll. In a column headlined “Playing Chicken Little on Denver’s Air Quality,” Carroll forced the ALA to retract the false claim and gave ALA officials the following admonishment: “[I]t’s one thing to say we have work to do and quite another to misrepresent long-term trends to strengthen your call for action … [I]t’s important to understand where we’ve come from and where we actually are, and not to fudge the data.”

Indiana Department of Environmental Management: Environmental regulators in Indiana issued their own assessment to preemptively debunk the ALA’s “State of the Air” report. “We want people to know, especially in Indiana, that their air is healthy to breathe,” Dan Goldblatt, a spokesman for the state environment department, told E&E News.

Maryland Department of the Environment: A day after the release of the ALA’s “State of the Air” report, environmental regulators in Maryland responded with their own report to correct the record. “They use their own yardstick. We don’t agree with their methodology,” Maryland Department of Environment spokesman Jay Apperson told E&E News.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The ALA’s “State of the Air” report was eviscerated by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board. According to the newspaper, the ALA used a reading from a single air monitor, located near an industrial plant, to make alarmist air quality claims about the 12-county Pittsburgh metropolitan region. This “skewed presentation” and “statistical malpractice” resulted in a “bogus” finding that was intended to “alarm and deceive,” the Post-Gazette said. For trafficking in such misinformation, the newspaper called the ALA itself “a pollution source in need of cleanup.”

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: Texas environmental regulators preempted the ALA’s “State of the Air” report with their own findings, which showed “ozone levels in 2014 either equaled or were lower than the best levels ever measured in most areas of the state.” After the ALA’s report was released, state environmental officials provided a statement to E&E News correcting the group’s claim “that ozone levels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have deteriorated.” In fact, according to state regulators, Dallas-Forth Worth ozone levels dropped 21 percent from 2000 and 2014, even as the region’s population grew by 29 percent.

Hamilton County, Ohio: Holly Christmann, the director of the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services, was forced to submit an op-ed to the Cincinnati Enquirer to debunk alarmist claims based on ALA’s data. The region’s air quality has improved “in every category of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards,” Christmann wrote, including a 23 percent reduction in ozone since 1990. “Everyone should take a deep breath and know that our air has dramatically improved and continues to get better,” Christmann concluded.

Misleading Push Poll

According to The Hill, the ALA released a national poll Sept. 9 that claims 73 percent of voters “favor stricter ozone limits.” But a quick glance at the questions behind the poll show that the ALA is up to its old tricks.

Voters are asked if they favor or oppose “stricter limits on the amount of smog that power plants, oil refiners and other industrial facilities can release.” Nowhere does the poll mention that in ozone non-attainment areas, those limits are imposed across the entire economy, including the cars that voters drive and in some cases the businesses where they work, not just a handful of sources. Nor does the poll mention that groups representing more than 20,000 local governments across the country – led by the U.S. Conference of Mayors – oppose the EPA’s effort to tighten the existing standard from 75 ppb into the range of 65 to 70 ppb because of the constraints it would impose on economic growth. Nowhere does the poll disclose the serious concerns of state environmental regulators that the EPA’s proposed ozone limit is so strict, it could penalize communities for background levels of ozone over which they have no control – background levels which are getting worse because of pollution drifting into the country from China and other nations. The poll does not mention that EPA’s ozone proposal has even been criticized by supporters of the Obama administration, including prominent backers of the Clean Power Plan.

The ALA poll does not tell voters that ozone levels have fallen dramatically in recent decades and that the existing federal standard was set less than a decade ago. Nor does the poll mention that the existing standard, set in 2008, was only finalized in February 2015, which means it has not had a chance to work. The ALA certainly does not disclose to voters that the Obama administration rejected any tightening of the federal ozone standard in 2011 because of the economic damage it would cause.

Instead, the poll uses a weak caricature of these widespread economic concerns, and asks voters if those concerns are worth “keeping parents in the dark about the true impact of pollution on their children.” In addition to such emotionally charged rhetoric, the ALA once again repeats the claim that tighter ozone limits will reduce asthma cases, ignoring more than a decade of real-world data that shows there is no correlation. In fact, the number of asthma cases grew by millions at the same time as ozone levels were falling.

If the ALA thinks this kind of opinion poll will restore its credibility, which has quickly eroded in the communities with the most at stake in the ozone debate, the ALA should think again.

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council). The Center for Regulatory Solutions is a project of the Council.

66 thoughts on “When NGO’s like the American Lung Association go bad, even the alarmist EPA has to disavow them

      • “Healthism,” the idea that we need to be occupied 24/7 with eliminating the (mostly contrived) “risk factors” in our lives, has now overplayed its hand to the same degree as climate “scientists” who yell the sky is falling. Everyone should just stop FEEDING, and paying any attention to, these Disease Mongering NGO’s who are only shills for pharmaceutical companies’ transparent agendas anyway.

    • Given there has been no measurable benefit from recent recent reductions in ozone levels, it is quite probably higher that the existing “acceptable” level.

  1. I used to donate to the ALA, but I stopped when I discovered that they had formed an unholy alliance with Obama’s EPA and the climate alarmists.

  2. I was unable to find out what the term NGO used in the headline is from reading this article. The American Lung Association seems like it must not have its reports audited on any level, which I guess they don’t have to if they are privately funded. Disappointing that the ALA would trash the progress made on pollution control in an attempt to get the action they want, but this is what was advocated by Al Gore 10 years ago in the global warming debate:
    “Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” — Al Gore
    [Reply: a site worth bookmarking: http://www.acronymfinder.com/NGO.html ~mod.]

  3. The ALA is also in error when it comes to tobacco smoke whether directly inhaled or “second-hand.” Sooner or later all fanatics go a step too far in promoting ideology as “science”.

      • Cool – I’ve been trying to find that one for a while.
        1998… right around the time that “science” left the building and “political activism” replaced it.

      • I’ve read recently of studies that show that children benefit from low level exposure to various environmental pathogens. Helps to train their immune system properly.
        I wonder if low levels of environmental toxins might fall into the same category.

      • True. Some of these organizations have long outlived their usefulness. This one has purpose when TB was still a major threat, along with polio and getting the word out about the relationship between smoking and lung cancer. Does it serve much purpose today? I see it, along with the UN and the WHO, as anachronisms we’d be better off without.

  4. The ALA sound like MedAct here in the UK. Both are medical fronts for anti-capitalist, greenie, left wingers. Here in the UK, MedAct came up with fake science to try and show that fracking would poison everyone’s air and water. Sounds similar to the ALA’s tactic of whipping up hysteria to make themselves look important.

    • Very true. Here in North Texas we always have high ozone rates during the late summer weather inversion. No wind, no air, high heat. Then, in one day, a cold front from the north will drop the temps from 95 to 30 in one day and its over. Its been this way for 100 years
      The anti frackers point to ozone and claim its from the ‘holes in the ground killing us”. The data is cherry picked, manipulated and a joke. Show them the proof the natural gas has lowered the co2 and ozone and they freak out.
      These are the same lemmings running around saying our faucets will catch on fire and that military grade pollutants are in the water from fracking.
      Poor EPA region 6…Every time they deliver the actual lab reports they get blasted as being on the payroll of corporations. I have actually started feeling sorry for the guys at the local levels dealing with the rabid lemmings.

      • The water from the faucets where I grew up had so much gas in it the water it was effervescent like soda pop; no Fracking involved. The gasses from the storage tank would throw a 3 foot flame!

      • I remember reading that in some locations, the locals had learned generations ago to send well water through a ventilated holding tank to allow trapped gasses to dissipate naturally.

    • BTW, I just cancelled my sub to The Economist and told them why! ONE more article pretending AGW is real and I’d have to light the issue in my hands on fire; plus pushing propaganda from the WHO about the world “sedentary” problem just made me HURL!

      • I’m considering the same with my subscription to “Astronomy” magazine. I just opened the October issue, and found an editorial titled “Intentional Ignorance, Climate change deniers are trying to make NASA conveniently blind”. It was authored by some clown named Jeff Hester who claims to be a “key note speaker, coach, and astrophysicist”. I suspect he may be related to Dave Hestor of the TV Reality series “Storage Wars” “YUUUUUP” :-). The point of his editorial was that (he believes) important NASA programs such as the SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Pasive earth-sensing satellite) are being opposed by conservative congress members and “their well-heeled backers” to hide evidence of global warming. He then went on to provide a simplistic explanation of the the CO2 theory of greenhouse warming and appealed to the 97% “consensus” that global warming I real. I would let it slide if he hadn’t invoked the “D” word and the 97%, but I believe that publications such as “Astronomy” who have impressionable youngsters amount their readership should be held to account.

      • Yes, Terry G, that’s why I dropped Sky & Telescope Mag. Such a pity, as astronomy should have nothing to do w/CAGW. I get my astronomy fix from the web now.

  5. EPA funds ALA to the tune of 10s of millions each year. ALA is totally in bed with them in pushing the “Clean Air Plan” which is the combined efforts of the EPA’s wars on ozone, ‘particulates’ and CO2, and of course, coal in particular. All in all, a war on modern civilization.
    As far as walking the outrageous claims back, only one media flack from one regional office. And then only after they were called out on it by all kinds of groups from coast to coast.

  6. The Canadian Lung Association is currently involved in a Radon fear-mongering campaign which is based on “…Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada…”. Given over 2/3 of the population lives on the NA Craton, I’d love to see the science that controls for this (aka the smoking gun that proves this statement). But I guess the possibility of getting a cut from the imposition of millions of Radon-abatement systems (at $3500 a pop) trumps the science.

    • the cost to put in a radon pump in our house in Ohio was $9,000. We were notified we would not be allowed to sell it until we paid up.
      All because the basement had been vacant, unused and locked up for two months before they ran the test…which was marginal.
      The guy took the great and absolutely useful floor drain in the basement, drilled a hole through drain and into the dirt, shoved a 3/4 pcp pipe into it. Then he ran pcp pipe up the walls, through the attic and a little $15 fan to blow air out the top. $9000
      The tests still came back marginal at $300 a pop. Sold it anyways. Good riddance, Yankees.
      The scams used to be black mold (which is resolved with bleach). Then it was supposed contaminates in China made sheet rock. Radon has been paying off well so no need yet to make up a new disaster..

      • You were ripped off. It shouldn’t cost any more than $1000 to mitigate radon in a home in Ohio. Now whether that money is well spent is another question.

    • empiresentry,
      A few years ago I paid over $5,000 because the owner of a store I rented to found a leak during a rainstorm. He had just heard about ‘black mold’, and he was fearful that it was gonna get him because of some temporary water.
      Why did I pay? For protection. A company came in, took samples, and had a bio-lab certify that nothing harmful was found.
      $5K is a lot cheaper than hiring a lawyer. Just another cost of doing business in the Peoples Soviet Collective of California, Gov. Moonbeam presiding. ☹

    • Radon is a carcinogen, and is a problem in certain geologies like the Reading Prong in PA. The answer is simple ventilation of basements. The prices you all are quoting are ridiculous, probably a result of mandated licensing and other such government overlayers. Simple timed sporadic window fan suffices. No different than a bilge pump on a boat, without the float switch.

    • eKoNazi’s constantly show their ignorance and even hatred for nature . Cedar County , MO , ozone levels are apparently a good example , like radon , where the watermelons essentially want to criminalize it .
      There was a local article this week about Colorado towns which have fluorine levels in their water significantly above EPA levels , and warned it can cause brown teeth and other problems . The last couple of paragraphs , which sounded like they were reluctantly included at the insistence of the local official actually in charge of the water supply , pointed out that they didn’t add any fluorine to the water , it was simply naturally occurring .

  7. Solve the problems, get rid of the cars.
    Cars are going anyway, either they go voluntarily or are removed by the force of events.
    Force of events = credit collapse: Driving a car does not pay for it, what pays is debt, which cannot be repaid by driving the car, either. The outcome is spiraling insolvency, currency- and bank runs (which are already underway around the world).
    Credit collapse = declining fuel prices => as prices decline fuel is shut in leading to more credit problems and lower fuel prices in a vicious cycle. At the end of the day everyone is bankrupt, there is little fuel and no return on what is used.
    Watch out USA, yr on your way to becoming Greece.

    • Solve the problems, get rid of the cars.
      Cars aren’t a problem. They are a solution. A much better solution than alternatives.
      But I can see self-driving cars becoming commonplace, and not too far in the future, either. Eventually, it will probably be illegal to drive a car yourself. The do-gooders will see to it.

      • I beg to differ.
        How would the “self-driving” car pick up on those subtle cues, that keeps experienced drivers out of the accident they saw coming from a mile away ?

      • Self driving cars will NEVER catch on. The reason is that whenever one gets in an accident, the manufacturer will be sued. With big pockets, juries consistently will blame the program on anything even slightly marginal. No one will take that liability risk

    • While we may be on our way to becoming Greece, cars have nothing to do with it. Automobile owners pay for their cars, pay for their fuel, pay for the roads, The “mass transit” riders are generally receiving a 90% subsidy because mass transit nowhere actually pays for itself. And like coal fired power plants the emission from automobiles have been forced ever downward.
      In America the air is clean, the water (at least when EPA isn’t dumping ancient mine waste into it) is clean, and there is no such thing as AGW. Like CA in another article on this site, America has problems that need to be dealt with. AGW, ozone, cars and not problems. Stagnant economy, too much debt, lousy education system, and clueless political and media class are the real problems.

  8. And the warmists just issued another warning to the media that a billion people will drown due to global warming today. That is, they will drown in around 1,000 years! 🙂

  9. It is clear that the ALA is being run by a bunch of far-left nuts pushing a far-left agenda. Money donated to them is not going to scientific research but to create political power that, if successful, would result in economic ruin for all.

  10. Before commenting, I went and read the few environmental epidemiology studies on ozone. Two main negatives. Exacerbates asthma, and reduces lung function in people with two genetic phenotypes. 1.a gene variant that does not protect from oxidative effects (quite rare), and genetically small bronchial/alveoli passageways. For all others, lifetime exposures 50-100% above the old EPA level has no disxernable lung function effect. Asthma is treatable; a reduction in ozone is not a reduction in asthmatics. The gene variant is treatable with supplemental antioxidents (e.g. vitamin C supplements) based on a study of about 80 such individuals in Mexico City compared to about 80 ‘normals’, both cohorts enduring way higher ozone levels. The reduced lung function has no meaningful life consequences except for folks like long distance track athletes.
    This is a tempest in a teapot compared to smoking, COPD, or asthma itself. And the alternative to further very expensive ALA mitigation is simple, inexpensive medical adaptation for the small unfortunate group for whom ozone at the present 0.08ppm rule might be a problem.The ALA ignores the law of diminishing returns, in addition to ignoring facts in many states. It is not possible to make the world perfectly safe for everyone all the time. That way lies insane zealotry.

  11. Oh, well, if a poll says that dumb people can be duped by impressive sounding agencies with homogenized data products and misleading questions, then we better get right on doing whatever it is the agency wants. Anything else would be a case of science denial.

  12. American Lung Associating, American Heart Association, American Cancer Association…all bloated SCAMS these days. Plenty of research money from pappa Fed and the University Medical School budgets.
    Oh, PS..”Mother’s March of Dimes” against “birth defects”…ANOTHER SCAM.
    Want to know what the best “charity” is? The non-profit, established by McDonald’s Corp, the Ronald McDonald house(s). 95% of the money goes to run the houses and help families with children in serious
    medical treatment. Interesting, “For Profit” company, establishes NON-profit charity, and runs it as well as they run the business, and it’s “primo” and does what they say it does.
    Meanwhile, remember..Planned Parenthood, a “non-profit” scams $580,000,000 from pappa Fed each year, and still solicits “contributions”.

  13. I think the ALA has been looking at the success of Climate Science to obtain federal and private donations, and asking themselves “Why shouldn’t we benefit from the same tactics they use.”
    I for one am surprised by the backlash from the EPA, and many other government agencies toward the ALA.

  14. For a non-USA citizen, I’m somewhat heartened by the backlash. I’ve been concerned over the past decade that the once stalwart American citizenry are just lying down and taking all this economic death sentence stuff from its government, the UN, the world. The US has gone in and shut down a couple of world wars and then repaired the aggressors and taught the world what an economy is.
    America for some reason gets down on itself. Reagan shook you guys up and got you going again and gave the coup de grace to the USSR. Everyone is laughing at Donald Trump the clown. Hey, he might be just the medicine that’s needed. All the other contenders have taken its-too-big-to-fail attitude about immigration, and all the other blights that are killing the great enterprise. Trump would reverse it all, maybe re-purpose education to educate, too. All the funds for all these despicable purposes will get heavily taxed and useful eejets won’t get a tax deduction for giving away their money to them.
    I guess it must be what has long been cooking in Karl M’s education plan that’s bearing sour pin cherries. Like climate science theory, they just can’t seem to let this failed political economy have a decent burial. Yeah, its been almost the same in Canada, except the Conservative gov has stood up to it through the main onslaught of the CAGW civilization killers. Harper was hated at the G8 where he had the temerity to tell the other seven where they went diametrically wrong with their banking regulations and management of their economies and what they had to do about it – particularly the EU (what they needed to do was exactly what Harper was doing, but who listens to boy scout Canada?) I’ve been worrying that without the US, lonely Canada and Australia won’t stand up to the rest of the world for long. We can be isolated and sanctioned like Iran, only we are not as tough and determined as they are – the fifth column is in the majority here. Once the economy is back on track, they will kick the Conservatives out and hand over to the soshulists to redistribute and shrink the whole pie again.
    The buggers have played dirty, too. They send over UN spokesmen and bureaucrats to give speeches to Canadians on how awful they treat their environment, how horrible we are to the indigenous people, etc… Oh they punish you for disobeying and they stop buying your oil and your seal skins and they issue lists of the best countries to live in leaving Canada below a bunch of ‘obedient’ EU ‘ UN protectorates’. They give the Nobel Prize to Obama for getting with the program and Harper is turned down for a seat on the Security Council. Yeah, you have to not care about approbrium from this lost world across the ocean and indeed you should be very worried about accolades from same. Yeah, probably Trump is the man. A dose of caster oil is definitely needed and, hey, won’t the cartoonists have fun with this guy’s hair? I have to pick him to win.

  15. Denver Post editorial page editor Vincent Carroll gave ALA officials the following admonishment: “[I]t’s one thing to say we have work to do and quite another to misrepresent long-term trends to strengthen your call for action … [I]t’s important to understand where we’ve come from and where we actually are, and not to fudge the data.”

    What I do not understand is why the ALA is being singled out as a bad player. What the ALA does is standard operating procedure in the climate change activism field. I wonder if they changed “ozone” to “CO2” in their reports would they suddenly go to the medias good side again.

  16. I’ve been a long-time but small contributor to ALA each year when I make my annual charity donations. I’ve also noticed their recent activism, so no more donations from me.

  17. Looks like there is a limit to the amount of Nobel Cause corruption even administration “ecologists” are willing to put up with.

  18. When you tell a person that a particular regulation is all benefit and no cost, of course they are going to support that regulation.

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