Friday, June 21, 2013

Ng Eng Hen and Grace Fu, you are both sooo wrong!!!

First Second Minister of EWR Grace Fu said, "The health impact of the air pollutants is determined by both the concentration and the duration of exposure."

Not wrong.

Then she says, "the 24-hour measurement is a better reflection of the total exposure of the individual to particulate matter."

Again by itself not wrong. From an epidemiological perspective. Which goes to show how little insight she has into the everyday common people's perspective.

As an ordinary person, Gigamole does not know what to do with the average PSI over the last 24 hours. Gigamole is not publishing a paper about the haze. Gigamole like everyone else away from the posh offices of the EWR Ministry, is really most concerned about what is happening now. Gigamole needs to know when to stay indoors and when it has become safe to venture outside. If Gigamole has workers, Giamole will need to know when to issue that missing (from the gahmen!) order to stop work. Can this be done using a 24 hour PSI average??

Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, lagi best, further glossed over the issue by promising to simplify the data. He pointed out that, "most studies on the exposure to pollutants are based on 24-hour measurements. That is why the government's guidelines are also based on those measurements..."

Yes, of course. All well and good if you are an epidemiologist. Nobody studies hourly peak exposures, because it is so much easier to collect averages over longer periods. But the absence of data does not mean it is unimportant. Duh....... common sense will tell you short term exposures to known toxic materials should be avoided.

So Gigamole's plea to these two smart politicians STOP TRYING TO DUMB DOWN THE DATA!

In situations such as this, more information is preferred to less. The public needs to know the real time data so that they know how to organize their daily activities to minimize discomfort and health risks. This is especially since the gahmen is reluctant to issue real advisories. No point issuing advice based on yesterday's news. We need to respond to real time events based on real time information. So please report on hourly readings of the PSI, both PM10 and 2.5. And I mean real hourly recordings and not rolling averages over last 3 hours! Please also report on the geographic information, i.e. at least North, South, East or West quadrants.

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