Comments & Discussion

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There are 6 comments on Link Found Between Contaminated Water, Risky Behavior

  1. Does this study control for socioeconomic factors? It seems more likely that poverty would be linked to both access to contaminated drinking water and drug use. If this is still statistically significant after controlling for poverty, I’d be curious to hear a more biological explanation for why it might be.

    1. There was very little difference between the socioeconomic status (SES) of exposed and unexposed subjects because they came from the same neighborhoods. Furthermore, the observed associations remained even after controlling for SES as measured by parental job category and educational level. There are many possible biological explanations for the results that are described in the published paper; however, a definite mode of action is currently unknown.

  2. Does this cover 1968-70 Camp Lejeune? I am bedridden 24 hours a day. My wife died of cancer 8 yrs after I left Camp Lejeune. My daughter has many female issues. She was born in 1969.

  3. “Aschengrau and her coauthors caution that because this study is the first to report the association between PCE exposure and risky behaviors, and because of other limitations, the findings ‘should be confirmed in follow-up investigations of similarly exposed populations.'”

    There’s your takeaway from this one, folks. Apparently, the temptation to imply causality between these pipes and later drug use overpowered the reporter/editor who wrote the article/headline, but I don’t think this even comes close to proving a causal relationship. Maybe these towns are poorer than average, as the first commenter noted; that hidden variable would better explain higher rates of drug use than a difference in water pipe quality. And at least mentioning the possibility of confounding or hidden variables would definitely improve this article.

    1. I agree that the presence of an association does not necessarily imply that there is a causal relationship. The method for distinguishing between causal and noncausal associations, known as the art of causal inference, is a complicated process with no hard and fast rules and no proofs. Valid study results are certainly a prerequisite for causality but evidence from other research is also an important consideration. As the BU Today article states, this was the first study to report this association and the findings should be confirmed by other investigators.

  4. Well yes, of course let’s be absolutely sure that the perc is tested repeatedly to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is ruining lives before we regulate it further. What is the proper number for the body count prior to regulation? Let’s be so careful of corporate profits at the expense of our children. What’s a little misery from early death or drug addiction compared to glorious profits?

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