Monday, December 13, 2010

Who obsesses on maps?

Certainly a lot of time the PG put into this series all week: Mapping Mortality.  I have no specific comment on the mortality angles they are focusing on since I try and stay away from commenting on a lot of health specific things.  I just don't know what the epidemiologists  know and this is such a complex topic.  It all does bring to mind one thing mentioned here before, which is the Vulcan Project out of Purdue which does an amazing job mapping emitters. They have been upgrading and they have a neat Google Earth app there now as well. Lot's of emitters and lots of things going on around here for sure.  One of the big comments on air around here is that we are really victims of upwind emissions.  Maybe that is true, but then we forget to mention that a lot of our emitters are themselves responsible for emissions impacting points east. The logic always seems a bit one sided to me.

Personally thinking about it.. and this is an angle I am not sure even the epidemiology literature has not yet taken up, but like everything else it has to be there are health impacts resulting from past migration patterns.  The sheer scale of past migration coupled with the self-selection of those who left clearly left us with some outlier-unique demographics in the nation.  It would be reasonable to expect that the same self-selection among those who left vs. those who stayed left us with a whole host of other uniquenesses that would show up in health metrics. But migration impact on health statistics is a topic few have done research on unfortunately.  That and I'll say that the first maps the PG up from the series sure seem to me to overlay with income metrics a fair bit which makes sense. 

What I did in the earlier post was zoom in on one of the Vulcan project's national maps to get a look at the greater Pittsburgh region. 


Anonymous The Wiz said...

I thought similar thoughts. We have an older population. And an older population that spent a lot of years in steel mills, coke ovens, and coal mines. Even those that didn't work there breathed the fumes.

Do a study of people that immigrated to the area after most of the mills left and then call me.

One thing I always thought of too; lots of people are digging up their yards to start their own gardens with the thought of saving a few bucks on groceries while getting healthier fresh veggies. The people in the poorer areas have been encouraged to do so for years. But are they really healthier? Much of the soil is full of things like lead, mercury, PCBs, and who knows what. Are those contaminants absorbed into the veggies and thus into the unwitting people?

Monday, December 13, 2010 3:47:00 PM  
Blogger Sextant said...

It must be the same phenomenon as other forms of technology, start using a calculator and you can't do simple math, use a word processor and flawless typing goes out the window...I guess now that I use a GPS I no longer know how to read a map. In the map above, besides looking like a Wonder Bread wrapper, it seems that Pittsburgh and perhaps Youngstown have been annexed by Cleveland and Detroit.

Thursday, December 16, 2010 6:38:00 AM  

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