The Corner

Rfk Jr. (Again)

I was paired with RFK Jr. in a set of interviews yesterday on WOSU radio in Columbus. While Kennedy has tempered some of his attacks — at least when he knows I’m listening — he still can’t help spewing whoppers. Two of the best new ones from yesterday:

1) Urban air pollution “causes” asthma. This is false. Ozone and other forms of outdoor air pollution aggravate existing asthma and can trigger asthma attacks, but they do not “cause” asthma. Indeed, childhood asthma rates have skyrocketed as urban air pollution levels have declined. Whatever the actual causes of asthma are — a subject that scientists and medical professionals still debate — outdoor air pollution is not one of them.

2) The EPA’s recent fish advisory announcement demosntrates that water pollution is getting worse. This is false too. As the EPA made clear in its annoucement, the reason more water bodies are under fish advisories this year is largely because a) more water bodies are monitored, so the EPA and state officials are more aware of exisiting water pollution problems, and b) some states have opted to err on the side of cuation by listing all state waters even though they don’t have data to indicate that all state waters are sufficiently polluted to justify fish advisories.

As before, I have a hard time believing that Kennedy doesn’t know this stuff, so that doesn’t leave many charitable explanations for his constant, and repeated, misstatements of fact.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.


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