Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the numbers, please

I was listening to a NPR program on my way home from work tonight that discussed a local environmental contamination issue.

The discussion centered on whether or not the industry practice is hurting the environment/the local residents. The residents say their drinking water is polluted and that the regulators are not paying enough attention, the industry rep says it's fine... an old story.

What aggravated me was the complete omission of scientific facts. I don't expect much out of a 10-minute radio story, but how much effort would it be to state that there are or are not regulatory standards for the chemicals, and if the concentrations are or are not above the standards?

We can argue about the standards. Maybe they're too low (conservative), or maybe the industry needs some time to meet them. Maybe we should be regulating more chemicals. But in a discussion about environmental contamination, can't we at least start with some basic facts before reporting about how angry the various parties are?

No comments: