Dr. Lisa Lieberman
Public Health 200-01
December 9, 2010
When Smoke Ran Like Water
Epidemiology is the science of diseases' frequency, spread, and control among populations, which is rooted in numbers, counting incidences, analyzing data, extrapolating patterns from stacks of statistics, and often contributing to policy decisions. An epidemiology studies design, data collection, statistical analysis, documentation of results and submission for publication.
Studies done in the 1990’s on breast cancer were based on recording regional patterns, the data showed that breast cancer rates were highest in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and California, while the lowest rates were in the south. Other techniques used to track possible causes of breast cancer were researching the financial statuses of those who suffered from it. Evidently, women of richer classes acquired the disease more than women of lower class, a possible reason for this is that the toxins that are present in things such as lawn fertilizer and dry cleaning chemicals. Wealthier women have a tendency to have more contact with these harmful components while underprivileged women may not be in contact with the same ingredients containing these toxins that contribute to the cause of breast cancer, therefore are less inclined to suffering from this disease.
In particular the topic of environmental endocrine disrupters, in chapters 6 and 7, has changed from an extreme conception to an area of major research. Her basic epidemiological argument is that we can see correlations between large-scale phenomena such as air pollution and increased mortality. Filling in the mechanistic details may be less important than recognizing a relation. One clear connection is the relationship of lead toxicity in children with leaded gasoline. When it was introduced, the extreme toxicity of tetraethyl lead was well known, but it was argued that the lead released from automobiles would not cause any hard to the...