Author's Reply [to “Comment on “Air pollution: Our ecological alarm and blessing in disguise” by Hugh W. Ellsaesser” Air Pollution Signals]



S.L. Dingman's quote, by deletion of the italicized words, has changed the thrust of the following statement by Lave and Seskin: ‘Thus, we conclude that an objective observer would have to agree that there is an important association between air pollution and various morbidity and mortality rates.’

Lave and Seskin set out to quantify, (in dollars) the effect of air pollution on human health. They could hardly have reached this goal without having first concluded that a health effect did indeed exist. Since they both reviewed the literature in considerable detail and needed the existence statement to reach their goal, I believe that it is highly significant that they chose to protect themselves with a caveat rather than to make the stronger statement attributed to them by Dingman. This belief is fortified by their careful delineation of the pitfalls and weaknesses in the literature on health effects both in their introductory sections and in the one specifically entitled ‘Some Caveats.’