Is it dangerous to live or have lived in Detroit?

As a former resident of the city, I wonder if my life there put myself and my family at risk?

Higher-than-average rates of certain chronic conditions, including asthma, may make Detroit residents more vulnerable to severe complications of the disease. The prevalence of asthma is 29 percent higher among adults in Detroit than those living in the rest of the state, according to a 2016 report from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

I was aware of pollution:

  • Smoke from coal furnaces
  • Smoke from leaf burning
  • Industrial smoke
  • Emissions from chemical plants
  • Asbestos in old schools and churches

Nothing unexpected or  unusual for the time.  But now:

Wayne State University study found elevated levels of high blood pressure in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties, the very places now surging with COVID-19 cases. Michigan also has rates of type 2 diabetes that are slightly higher than the rest of the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Is the prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure an environmental effect or a demographic effect?

About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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14 Responses to Is it dangerous to live or have lived in Detroit?

  1. Richelieu says:

    Detroit, Michigan is not part of NY23. Maybe I misunderstood the mission statement of this blog, to “discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties), Perhaps that mission statement should be changed to reflect its changes?

    ANYWAY, moving back to politics that affect the NY 23rd:

    Here’s a good one!

    Trump gave an interview on Fox News Monday morning and held forth during another word salad interview.

    Referring to the recently passed coronavirus stimulus bill Trump said, “The things they had in there were crazy. They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

    Trump just came out and nakedly said it: The GOP is hurt when it’s easier to vote.

    Small wonder the Trump party does all that it can to suppress voting.

    Wouldn’t it be great if NY23rd’s Democratic Party put together some sort of voter registration / get out the vote drive? Maybe we could get rid of both Trump and Tom Reed!


  2. whungerford says:

    What does Detroit have to do with NY-23? Maybe a lot. During the fracking debate we learned that Chemung County has above average incidence of asthma and other breathing disorders. Some workers in Steuben County may be stricken with mesothelioma. The Hardinge factory in Horseheads was built on a superfund site. Southside HS in Elmira may have polluted playgrounds. Metro Detroit has an entombed nuclear reactor; NY-23 has West Valley from the same era.


  3. Athos says:

    Americans are unable to prioritize their health care interests / spending correctly.

    The Republican Government of Flint, Michigan (disclosure-not in NY23) changed its water treatment protocols in an effort to save a few bucks. Rather than continue obtaining its drinking water from the SAFE Detroit water system, they switched to taking water from the Detroit River. This resulted in foul-smelling, discolored, and off-tasting water piped into Flint homes for 18 months causing skin rashes, hair loss, and itchy skin. Complaints were ignored.Later studies would reveal that the contaminated water was also contributing to a doubling—and in some cases, tripling—of the incidence of elevated blood lead levels in the city’s children, imperiling the health of its youngest generation. 80 % of children exposed to lead during the water crisis will require special education services. Remediation will be tremendously expensive. Much more than the money saved in the dubious choice.

    Another instance: prior to the emergence of H5N1, when influenza was killing as many as 56,000 people a year, West Nile virus killed, at the most, 284 people. West Nile was not, nor ever will be, any sort of major threat to the US. Guess which disease received more research dollars?
    Another stupid choice.

    Finally, this year, when we had enough time to prepare for the coronavirus, Trump and his buddies squandered the gift and didn’t react until a best case in 100 K to 200K fatalities. A choice that kills.

    Americans should stop being so ignorant and stupid.


  4. Richelieu says:

    What does Detroit have to do with NY-23? Maybe a lot.
    —-maybe not.
    During the fracking debate we learned that Chemung County has above average incidence of asthma and other breathing disorders.
    —-I was unaware fracking is occurring in Chemung County. I guess that I would question a link between fracking in Chemung and breathing disorders. But good,. An examination of breathing disorders in Chemung County would be a good topic.
    Some workers in Steuben County may be stricken with mesothelioma.
    —-May be??? Are they or are they not? Or are they like Schrodinger’s cat? Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that is caused by inhaled asbestos fibers and forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. It is not something the average resident of either Detroit or NY23 would be exposed to.
    The Hardinge factory in Horseheads was built on a superfund site.
    —-Was it remediated? Another good topic. By itself.
    Southside HS in Elmira may have polluted playgrounds.
    —are they or are they not polluted? How much? EPA involved? Maybe a good topic. by itself.
    Metro Detroit has an entombed nuclear reactor; NY-23 has West Valley from the same era.
    —-What’s your point, here? The bullets in your post are all concerned with airborne particles. No mention of entombed nuclear plant anywhere. I am unaware of entombed nuclear powerplants producing particulate airborne pollutants. Perhaps I am ignorant. Anyway, If entombed nuclear plants present a problem for you, then a better example than Detroit would certainly be Chernobyl.
    Try reading this:
    Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster

    If you wish to discuss pollution in NY23, it would be helpful to bring up specific instances in NY23. If you insist on examples outside of NY23, there are better examples than Detroit.

    Toms River NJ had wells polluted by what is now TWO superfund sites. The experiences there should inform an interested party of what can happen.

    If you are REALLY REALLY interested in what happens when pollution comes to a rural community, read this, which happened in an area not unlike NY23:
    Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer’s Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont

    Thanks again for the memory / reasoning stimulus. Much appreciated.


  5. Porthos says:

    Another good one:
    If Trump had been the designer of the Titanic, it would have had fewer lifeboats.


  6. Athos says:

    Trump and his experts came out with numbers yesterday.
    1,000,000 to 2,400,000 coronavirus fatalities are expected. IF ALL MITIGATION MEASURES ARE FOLLOWED PERFECTLY.

    Some people don’t believe in some mitigation measures. So they question, for instance, if measures such as social distancing are effective. Presumably, a portion of these nonbelievers will not practice social distancing. Since this will result in less than perfect measures, it is safe to say that the number of predicted fatalities will be higher.

    And then….

    Yesterday’s models were built using available data. A new wrinkle was reported yesterday.

    It is reliably reported that up to 24% of people infected with the virus and hence shedding the virus are completely asymptomatic. That means that someone can show NO SIGNS of the disease, and be infecting anyone s/he comes in contact with.

    That invalidates the numbers trotted out yesterday. Experts are concerned that those numbers are wildly optimistic.

    Last thing. Note that we are only dealing with today’s emergency. No plans exist yet for what to do in the fall, though it is safe to say that in the absence of a vaccine, social distancing will continue to be necessary.

    What will happen to our cherished economy?

    Victor Vaughn, Surgeon General of the Army and head of the army’s Division of Communicable Diseases, watched the 1918 virus move across the Earth and wrote, “If the epidemic continues its mathematical rate of acceleration, civilization could easily disappear… from the face of the earth within a matter of a few more weeks.”


  7. Aramis says:

    We all have Schrodinger’s virus now.

    Because we cannot get tested,
    We can’t know whether we have the virus or not.

    We have to act as if we have the virus so that we don’t spread it to others.

    We have to act as if we have never had the virus because if we did not have it, we are not immune.

    Therefore, we both have and don’t have the virus.
    Thus, Schrodinger’s Virus.

    If you get the joke, thank your physics teacher.
    If you don’t get the joke, google is your friend.


  8. Richelieu says:

    January 8th First CDC Warning
    January 9th Trump Campaign Rally
    January 14th Trump Campaign Rally
    January 15th First US Coronavirus Case
    January 18th Trump goes Golfing
    January 19th Trump goes Golfing
    January 28th Trump Campaign Rally
    January 30th Trump Campaign Rally
    February 1st Trump goes Golfing
    February 5th Senate acquits Trump
    February 10th Trump Campaign Rally
    February 15th Trump goes Golfing
    February 19th Trump Campaign Rally
    February 20th Trump Campaign Rally
    February 21st Trump Campaign Rally
    February 28th Trump Campaign Rally
    March 2nd Trump Campaign Rally
    March 7th Trump goes Golfing
    March 8th Trump goes Golfing
    March 13th Trump finally admits Coronavirus might be a problem
    April 1st Over 4000 Americans have died from coronavirus

    Any questions?


  9. Richelieu says:

    cumulative positive cases as of 4/1/2020 214,482
    Today’s new positive cases as of 4/1/2020 26,753
    New positives last week — 3/26/2020 19,232

    cumulative fatalities as of 4/1/2020 5,094
    Today’s new fatalities as of 4/1/2020 874
    New fatalities last week — 3/26/2020 349

    mortality rate last week 1.78 %
    mortality 3/30/2020 (two days ago) 1.93 %
    mortality 3/31/2020 (yesterday) 2.06 %
    mortality today 2.38%

    Some people have expressed an opinion that the mortality rate is overstated, and will go down as new cases are reported.
    Other people are not as optimistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aramis says:

    According to authorities and experts, there are up to 24% of infected people who are completely asymptomatic. And are coronavirus carriers.

    Calculating the number of unreported positive via a reliable and reproducible method described in detail elsewhere, I estimate that there are at least 994,000 cases of coronavirus infections in the country as of 4/1/2020. The official number of cases is 215,215.

    Given that
    1. a number of carriers are asymptomatic
    2. very few southern states took remediation/ mitigation measures until yesterday/today
    3. Spring Break / St Patty parties
    4. USA testing is incredibly deficient

    I think 994k is an entirely unrealistic and optimistic number.


  11. whungerford says:

    Elizabeth Kolbert, writing in the April 6 issue of The New Yorker observes:

    There’s a good deal of debate about why the second pandemic finally ended; one of the last major outbreaks in Europe occurred in Marseille in 1720. But, whether efforts at control were effective or not, they often provoked, as Snowden (Frank M. Snowden, “Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present” (Yale)) puts it, “evasion, resistance, and riot.” Public-health measures ran up against religion and tradition, as, of course, they still do. The fear of being separated from loved ones prompted many families to conceal cases. And, in fact, those charged with enforcing the rules often had little interest in protecting the public.

    Public-health measures also ran up against religion and tradition in GA and LA when funerals and church services went on without regard for the consequences. As geographer Jared Diamond has observed, human societies are often slow to recognize looming disaster and act responsibly.


  12. Richelieu says:

    Good article. And today, the response to the coronavirus can be demonstrated to be determined by politics.

    A recent Gallup poll reported, “… that while 73 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents said they feared that they or someone in their family might be exposed to the coronavirus, only 42 percent of Republicans agreed. “

    Why is that? Well, Republicans have been indoctrinated for generations with the following:

    Government is the problem, not the solution
    Consequently, government authority is to be distrusted, and resisted
    Science is unreliable, and should be treated with skepticism (see change, climate)
    The media is unreliable, and should be treated with extreme skepticism
    The Democrats will do anything to gain more power, including taking advantage of (or inventing out of whole cloth) a national crisis

    Funny. Many Republicans now look to Government to save their hides, and science to protect them and their kids. Of course, they also became socialists in the $2 trillion bailout bill.

    Anyway, it is not surprising that Republican governors have resisted putting mitigation procedures into place, with Ron DeSantis of Florida even allowing spring break festivities to proceed. Now we all wait for the deadly seeds planted in Florida, Texas, Alabama,Georgia, etc to bloom.

    This map is instructive and frightening:

    It’s often stated that Pennsylvania is “Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in the middle.” A similar statement could be applied to NY23. Without Governor Cuomo’s actions, I am certain that NY 23 would be following Florida’s path.

    Me? I have gotten religion!
    I PRAY that Trump et al continue to listen to the advice of the experts.


  13. Richelieu says:

    From a dear friend:
    I’m suspecting that by the early autumn the trump administration and the republican senate along with the supreme court are going to engineer a takeover of the government. i assume that will involve a suspension of free elections or at least a selective suppression and the invocation of martial law


  14. Aramis says:

    A map of the current coronavirus crisis.

    One can drill down by state and county. In Michigan, Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties seem to be hardest hit.

    I am sorry.


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