Essay on air pollution

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Essay on air pollution

Air pollution causes significant health harms.  The following sample is provided with the hope to give you an idea on how to organize your ideas and present your arguments. Read sample of essay on air pollution and learn how to write an impression essay!

…Causation is most difficult in the case of health harms. Most health harms are not clearly and exclusively linked with any cause. The problem is particularly intractable in the case of cancer. Proof of causation of cancer is extraordinarily difficult in litigation. The problem arises first because cancer has a very long latency period -- the disease usually does not strike until decades from the time of the exposure that triggered the disease. Second, most air pollutants cause lung cancer, which has a plethora of other potential causes. When lung cancer develops, it is impossible to be certain that it was caused by indoor air pollution as opposed to cigarette smoke, outdoor pollution, or other sources. Third, we have relatively little knowledge of how and why cancer develops. As a result, it seems to be a disease of probabilistic risk. Virtually any exposure to a carcinogen may cause cancer, and no commonly present exposures produce anything approximating a certainty of cancer. Thus, while thousands of Americans probably contract cancer from radon, volatile organic compounds, and other indoor air pollutants, each individual faces a risk of, for example, 1 in 1,000 of cancer. Thus very few individuals actually have a probability of cancer from indoor air pollution, and after a cancer is suffered, it is difficult to prove that indoor air pollution was the cause of this specific cancer. For other contexts, such as electromagnetic fields, the task will be even more difficult.

Traditional common law principles require that a plaintiff prove a greater-than-50-percent probability of causation. Thus, if a million individuals are exposed to a 1 in 1,000 risk, a thousand people will contract cancer, but none of them may recover from their disease. This causation paradox is difficult for plaintiffs to escape.

In addition, the "abstract theoretical difficulties of demonstrating causation of cancer are probably dwarfed by practical difficulties of proof". Few homeowners have monitored the indoor concentrations of pollutants in their homes, and they will thus have difficulty proving exposure. Even those plaintiffs who prove exposure must still prove the risk associated with that exposure. Scientists differ on cancer risk assessments, and both sides of the litigation will be able to present witnesses debating relative risks. The cost of this proof will also be daunting to many plaintiffs. An expert report to Congress stated that "it is clear that proof of the causal connection between exposure and injury is an almost overwhelming barrier to recovery, particularly in smaller cases (regardless of their merit) because the cost of mounting the massive probative effort and the arrays of technical and scientific evidence will be prohibitive." Some plaintiffs have sought to ease these problems by suing for the risk of future cancer, but this theory is not universally accepted…

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