The Great Asthma Lie

In the April 1998 issue of the American Lung Association's American Journal of the Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, a study titled "20-Year Trends in the Prevalence of Asthma and Chronic Airflow Obstruction in an HMO" presents the following quote:

Numerous authors have speculated on possible reasons for the increase in asthma prevalence, morbidity, and mortality (15, 24). Among the factors that have been suggested as possible explanations are increasing concentrations of indoor airway allergens, changing patterns in the immune response to infections, increased consumption of specific dietary nutrients, changes in the organization and delivery of health care, and the possibility of adverse drug effects.

Last year, during the debate over EPA's air quality standards, the EPA and the American Lung Association claimed outdoor air pollution was behind the recent increase in asthma rates.

Now re-read the above-captioned quote. See if you can find "outdoor air pollution" mentioned. Since asthma was a major reason for the air quality regulations estimated to cost more than a $100 billion annually, one would think the authors would have at least mentioned outdoor air pollution if it truly was suspected to be a cause of higher asthma rates.

And since this study was submitted to the Journal on April 30, 1997, well before the EPA finalized the air quality standards in July 1997, did the American Lung Association know it was telling us a whopper?

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