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Author Topic: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.  (Read 649 times)

Tim Lookingbill

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Saw this piece yesterday on my local PBS station...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv1nk_0Iwy0

Very disturbing detailed account of the Flint, Michigan lead contaminated water incident and how one set of scientists at CDC, EPA and local water treatment authorities dismissed the findings of another set of scientists (some from the same government institutions) on what is basic simple science any public citizen could understand. In fact if it wasn't for a Flint resident who's hair was falling out to the point she had to become a DIY citizen scientist, a lot of people would still be drinking poisoned water.

After seeing this I couldn't help but be reminded of the science based naysayers on global climate change. This video was a real eye opener on the politics and policy of established science and how it become corrupted just by a few long established experts and authorities who later were charged with criminal negligence.

I wonder if the same can be charged against scientists for or against global climate change which is a MUCH BIGGER target to measure for over measuring for lead in drinking water.

You've got to see this Nova video.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 02:38:16 PM by Tim Lookingbill »
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PeterAit

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2017, 02:55:41 PM »

Thank you Tim.
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degrub

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2017, 06:30:41 PM »

Washington DC has the same issue years before after a switch to bleach from Cl.  It was obvious and known. Change the pH and the passivation layer on the lead pipes dissolves.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2017, 12:35:55 AM »

The NOVA piece covers the the Washington DC incident as a comparison.

What I took away mostly from the documentary and was emphasized close to the end of the story is the point that, if trusted government officials who came across so convincingly in the right when they were dead wrong over water quality at both Washington DC and Flint treatment plants, how many other water treatment facilities across the nation could be concealing or just ignoring the truth the same way.

Suspiciously, right after the Flint incident finally made it to the news when it first aired, my town's water treatment utility sent out a statement to our town's newspaper and local radio stations and their websites reassuring everyone our tap water was safe to drink with no supporting documentation to back it up that you see citizens demanded through the freedom of information act shown in the NOVA piece.

It came across in hindsight kind of arrogant as if that's all we need to know and all they need to tell us. Now my town's tap water isn't yellowish rusty colored and smelly as was Flint's, but the NOVA story says that's not enough information to rely on considering treatment facilities only test at specially selected sample points across the city.

Our town has some of the oldest mains and residential tap lines, some going back to the early 1900's and maybe even further. And our water utility includes pie charts in our bill indicating they draw from several sources that include an aquifer and our local filthy Guadalupe river depending where one lives in the city.
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amolitor

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2017, 01:01:50 AM »

Same as it ever was. Gene Smith went to Minamata, so you'd think at least photographers wouldn't be surprised.

But, Nope.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2017, 01:45:22 AM »

For overall public health reassurances with regard to the quality of tap water and local healthcare facilities I make friends with folks shown in the image below and ask them questions on how they're feeling and doing.

The elderly couple below was taken when they were in their '80's with the sign on the left nailed to their home's front wall indicating when the house was built that also functions as a way to get special zoning allowances as a historical building. Eugene, the man holding the bag of aluminum cans, would chuckle relaying to me what he had to go through with the city to get that.

Now he's 94 and suffered a stroke affecting his speech, but he still likes sunning himself on that porch and offer up a chit-chat when I pass by his home on my long walk back to my car after a swim in my local spring river.


I believe Eugene and his wife Isabella drinks bottled water. And I swear both seem to luck out finding good healthcare treatment with available local MD's and rehab facilities especially seeing how well Eugene recovered from his stroke.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 01:48:48 AM by Tim Lookingbill »
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LesPalenik

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2017, 01:54:11 AM »

It's a shame that Quadalupe and other central Texas rivers ended up so polluted.

Quote
“Texas’ waterways are a polluter’s paradise right now. Polluters dump 14.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Texas’ lakes, rivers and streams every year,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “We must turn the tide of toxic pollution by restoring Clean Water Act protections to our waterways.”
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“The bottom line is that Texas’ waterways shouldn’t be a polluter’s paradise, they should just be paradise. We need clean water now, and we are counting on the federal government to act to protect our health and our environment”


http://environmenttexas.org/news/txe/146-million-pounds-toxic-chemicals-dumped-texas’-waterways

Alan Klein

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2017, 11:29:48 PM »

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help." - Ronald Reagan.

Yet, people can't wait to turn over more of their lives to the government, to politicians who only care about their own power and money. 
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amolitor

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2017, 11:47:54 PM »

Hell yeah. When the fire department or the police show up to help, I run em off.
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Alan Klein

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2017, 12:11:24 AM »

OK, I'll give you the police and fire department and add the military too.  But my point is that the government should mainly be in the business of creating a level playing field.  Then, allow private citizens and business go to work.  Government should stay out of picking winners and losers, subsidizing, etc.  Politicians think they're too important.  That the world can't run without them. 

The problem with what happened in Flint is that government doesn't care, not really.  FEMA's a joke.  Look what happen in New Orleans and with Sandy.  I worked for a city government department for 14 years.  I figured out this great way to reduce costs and went to my boss to explain my idea.  When I started to tell him about it, he interrupted me.  He looked me straight in the eyes and asked, "What do you care what it costs?" 

That's government!
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2017, 03:08:53 AM »

Alan, I just want to know if there is the same methods used to double check the science used in the Flint water quality case to confirm sound science is used for other government policies such as global climate change.

Conveniently having every scientist in the world be on board for such a huge target to measure in order to prove it exists needs the same rigorous set of scientists double check the science with methods used to assess water quality.

Unfortunately there are no other scientists because they all believe sound science was used to prove global climate change is real.

I just didn't know science could be manipulated this way in order to set policy agenda. I don't think we can trust any scientist, now, at least those involved with the government.
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Alan Klein

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Re: PBS's NOVA "Poisoned Water"-How government can corrupt science.
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2017, 12:13:08 AM »

Tim, I just don't trust politicians and government.  I've seen them at work.   They're vain, lack of hubris, self-centered.  Most of all they think they have all the smarts and want to run the world and our lives.  They should leave us alone, mainly.  Someone once said that the best government is the government that governs the least.  Good advice. 

Global warming may be true or not.  But private industry will address it not the government.  Government will just create so many problems that they'll cause more harm then good.  Add to that there are so many countries that have to coordinate and agree.  Never happen. Even the Paris compact requires nothing from any country.  It';s all about feeling good while each country will go ahead taking care of their own economies.  It's just the way the world works. 
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