Medical Research

An Ounce of Prevention: Parallel Stories in the Newspaper

Kristen Sparrow • December 11, 2011

This article was a plea from a computer scientist at UCB for more computer experts to get involved in the “war on cancer.” And, indeed, in such a multifactorial, huge medical health issue, the more help the better. In the last week there was also this article outlining an online website to raise funds for cancer research: a highly laudable effort, also.

In the same bout of newspaper reading, there is this article exploring the increasing dust in the American west and its effect on snow melt (it increases it.) Some of the reasons posited for the increase in dust (which has lead to high asthma rates) is global warming and off road vehicle use.
And this article looking at the risky but lucrative practice of deep sea drilling off the coast of Brazil. “”We see big slicks of oil, fish that have changed colors,” he said.”
And this article examining the ground water pollution resulting from the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. “”Fracking poses serious threats to safe drinking water… Last year, Wyoming became one of the first states to require oil and gas companies to publicly disclose the chemicals used in fracking. Colorado regulators are considering doing the same.”

And this article describing the dangerous lack of regulation, ie “self regulation” in the natural gas pipelines in Pennsylvania.

The point being, that there is a cavalier, reckless attitude toward the potential health risks in all of these practices mentioned above from carbon emissions, to off road vehicles, deep oil drilling, fracking, and natural gas production. And then scrambling on the other end to try to combat cancer, asthma and other health risks that are increasing by the day. It is glaringly obvious that it is all about incentives, and that is where the conversation needs to go.

And then there is this story about the nuclear regulatory commission members, all pro-industry fighting tooth an nail to relax regulations. It never ends.