February 28, 2014

DT Friday Freakout: Yet Unpublished Edition

Oh man, do you know the freakoutiest kind of Friday Freakout story from the worlds of science and health and parenting and politics and just general freaking out? It's the kind with "unpublished data."

Because with unpublished data, you get to freak out before any actual peer-reviewing takes place, and if it turns out that the freakout is real, you're just that much farther ahead, and you can freak out again when the research is actually published.

And if the peer review process finds out the data is wrong, irrelevant, inconclusive, or otherwise unpublishable, you've already had your solid, pre-pub freakout, and you're ready to move on to the next one.

So kudos to Inhabitots for reporting that "new, yet unpublished data" shows that "PCBs (Banned in the U.S. 35 Years Ago) are Found Leaching Out of Clothing and Paper"!

PCBs are carcinogens, and like the headline say, are banned, but it's useless; they're still everywhere. Or at least in "28 samples of non-U.S., ink-treated paper products, including advertisements, maps, postcards, napkins and brochures. All samples contained PCB-11 in the parts-per-billion range."

Wait. parts per billion? So two orders of magnitude lower than 1 part-per-million, the level at which the EPA certifies a site as decontaminated? [pdf]

Will the health risks from exposure to these unpublished 99.9% lower levels of PCB exposure hit us or the kids before the oceans go extinct in 2048?

In other freakout news, birth order affects school performance, because even by the second kid, parents are so wiped out, they're literally like, Expectations? School? Whatever, watch TV.

"PCBs (Banned in the U.S. 35 Years Ago) are Found Leaching Out of Clothing and Paper" [inhabitots via dt reader michael]
Polychloryl Biphenyl (PCB) Site Revitalization Guidance, Nov. 2005, PDF [epa.gov]
2006, we are already doomed:Salt Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048 [cbsnews]
Birth Order and Student Performance [nber.org]

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