All too often we come to believe things simply because they are repeated over and over again without rebuttal. This page is designed to expose the reader to commentaries which will help dispel the myths surrounding the many claims about what causes asthma, especially in children, including pesticides.

Overlooking the Obvious: Cigarette Smoke and Asthma

Holcomb B. Noble's article discussing the heavy burden of asthma faced by poor, largely minority children in New York City (News article, July 27, 1999) neglects to mention a prime trigger of children's asthma: cigarette smoke. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is known to increase severity of asthma symptoms, and to impair recovery following hospitalization of asthmatic children.

Science Panel Rejects EPA Plan to Make Air Standards Even Stricter
Cindy F. Kleiman, MPH, Coordinator of Toxicology Projects for ACSH, stated that "the EPA has ignored a claim by one of the researchers that it is premature to single out a specific air pollution component, such as fine particulates, as being responsible for mortality. Nor is there consistent evidence to support EPA's claim that lowering of the ozone standard is needed to protect asthmatics. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control has not implicated outdoor ozone as a primary factor in recent increases in asthma occurrence."
Back in July 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new air quality standards to tighten ozone and particulate matter (soot) pollution to provide “additional protection for children and asthmatics.” This regulation, however, is ill–directed and a misuse of public health funds.
We noted in May that antioxidant vitamins may sometimes be harmful for the heart. In June, we reported that vitamin C use was linked to arthritis. Now, a study published in the July issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, tells us that multi-vitamin use within the first six months of life is associated with a higher risk for asthma in black infants. It also found that vitamin use at age three was associated with an increased risk for food allergies.
Specifically, they have invoked rising child asthma rates. But while their claims are emotionally gripping, their arguments are scientifically bankrupt. ……….But don't hold your breath (as it were) waiting for a government or activist-group campaign against cockroaches. The EPA doesn't have jurisdiction over bugs. And after all, groups like the Chemical Manufacturers' Association make nicer – and bigger – targets.
Asthma is on the rise, and the experts are not sure why. Outdoor air pollution is the most politically popular culprit but is unlikely to be the cause, while more plausible explanations have thus far received scant attention. The latest study from the Public Health Policy Advisory Board (PHPAB), a not-for-profit public health advocacy group, underscores the many uncertainties regarding this increasingly common disease. Nonetheless, Asthma: Epidemic Increase Cause Unknown, is important reading in that it spells out what needs to be learned before this epidemic can be effectively addressed.


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