Home > Uncategorized > NJ Spotlight Gives The “Facebook Epidemiologist” A Platform (Again!)

NJ Spotlight Gives The “Facebook Epidemiologist” A Platform (Again!)

Facebook “Data” Is Garbage

Given Location of School And DEP Air Toxics Data, Why No Chemical Sampling?

Screen Shot 2022-04-04 at 7.46.36 AM

[Update: 4/25/22 – Spotlight TV did it again. Pouring gasoline on the fire, they mentioned Hiroshima/Nagasaki! DOH & DEP are deferring to local government (Woodbridge) and not communicating effectively, in direct contradiction to CDC Guidelines.

Watch the story. ~~~ end update]

[Update: 4/20/22 – Wow. I just checked the NJ Department of Health Cancer Registry data, and the rate of death (not incidence – 2019) for brain cancers in men and women ranges from 3.5 – 5.3, per 100,000. Wiki says Colonia HS enrollment is 1,300 or so (app. 300 grads/year). Assuming that population, from 1967 – today, about 15,000 students graduated. If over 100 people were correctly diagnosed as having died from brain cancer – a diagnosis that Facebook can not provide – that’s significantly higher than expected (all other things being equal, which they are not). Regardless of expected v. observed, in addition to possible radiological causes, chemical carcinogens must be considered.  ~~~ end update]

It’s been a few weeks since the alleged cancer cluster at Colonia High School in Woodbridge NJ story broke. (I’ve criticized the coverage twice, see this and this).

So, there has been plenty of time for NJ Spotlight reporters to talk to real scientists and epidemiologists and get educated on important issues, like: 1) basic epidemiological methods and statistics, 2) comprehensive environmental sampling, 3) potential exposure pathways and health effects of chemicals, 4) available DEP data on things like ambient toxic air qualityproximity to known contaminated sites, 5) prior studies, like EPA school monitoring and ATSDR Public Health Assessment in Garfield NJ the Toms River NJ cancer cluster causality, 6) DEP air cancer risk policy, 7) potentially significant unknowns, like the a) presence and health effects of 500 unregulated chemicals that are known to be present in NJ drinking water and b) cumulative risks.

[Note: Here are CDC Guidelines for investigating suspected cancer clusters.]

EPA National Air Toxics (Source: NJ DEP, link above)

EPA National Air Toxics – Known Carcinogens  (Source: NJ DEP, link above)

The distribution of pollution and cancer risks also has important implications for the long delayed upcoming DEP environmental justice regulations, see:

Source: US EPA National Air Toxics

Source: US EPA National Air Toxics

Sadly, it seems like NJ Spotlight reporter Jon Hurdle has failed to do so, because he has not written anything about any of that. DEP and NJ’s corporate polluters obviously don’t want any of that discussed.

Just the opposite: instead, in today’ followup story, he included this stunningly irresponsible and highly misleading quote from the man I’ve dubbed “the Facebook Epidemiologist”:

Lupiano said he interviews people who present themselves as candidates for his list to make sure their stories warrant inclusion. Several who probably should be on the list have been excluded because of missing or conflicting information, he said.

“I’m not willing to jeopardize the accuracy of my data,” he said. “Increasing the number is not my priority. Preserving the sanctity of the data is.”

There is no “accuracy” to that “data” – there is no “sanctity” to that “data”.

That “data” is garbage.

I fired off this note to Mr. Hurdle to explain – amazing that I am essentially defending DEP for a change:

Jon – it is irresponsible to print quotes like that.

Any scientist or qualified epidemiologist will tell you that “data” is garbage and has zero validity.

By printing a quote like that, you smear real science and scientists.

Why is there no chemical sampling being done?

Indoor air, ambient air, soil, subsurface gas (possible vapor intrusion), and groundwater should all be sampled for chemicals as well as radiological parameters.


diesel-risk (2)


Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.