The environmental journalism Sydney-(out)sider
In the vaguely titled “Lead Pollution no longer threat to air quality in Australian cities, study finds,” Jake Strummer reports on the new threat reaching Australian’s, one in their backyards. Strummer discusses the newly published research, which concluded by saying lead in petrol is no the leading cause for lead poisoning.
In his article, Strummer includes a study lead by Professor Mark Taylor at Macquaire University, which resulted in finding “reducing concentrations of lead in air.” Including broad statements in his article, may at first glance convince the reader by consoling fears of lead becoming airborne, but Strummer merely passes over the negative effects. Health risks of lead exposure still remain a large worry and the solution is not as simplistic as Strummer makes it out to be. Lead in petrol may be decreasing, but the health risks once existed and continue to do so. Aftermaths of exposure still exist.
When writing such general statements, the opposing position needs to be investigated in order to refute it and then prove the strength of the author’s argument,in this case, lead in petrol is no longer the leading problem in lead poisoning. Strummer uses such study to convey his message, but fails to cite another source possibly stating the opposite, lead in petrol is still a very real concern. It is to make such large claims without listing some dispute.
Furthermore, the article’s headline promises an insight into a variety of Australia’s major cities all suffering from the same problem, but once again Strummer fails to deliver and only mentions one. One point brought up in class is the importance of range of sources to prove an argument. Strummer cites various sources in his article, all who comment on the lead issue in Sydney, citing homeowners whose chickens were infected with lead poisoning, to lead exposure experts. But without an array of locations cited, is lead pollution truly “no longer a threat… in Australian cities?”
Lastly, Strummers decision to end the article by quoting lead expert, Albert Juhaz’s contradiction of the EPA’s dispute of Professor Taylor’s findings clearly indicate his anti-EPA position. Quoting Juhaz’s statement saying “it is very easy to come up with a statement.. that says [Taylor’s study] [used] the wrong particle size,” Strummers criticizes the EPA’s doubt of a problem ever truly existing.