Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Abatement fraud in NYC

How good is your data?  Spending countless hours as a chemistry major at university, and then working as a chemist for many year, good documentation practices have been driven into my subconscious.  But that only applies to me generating data.  I am confident of the quality of the data in my lab notebook:  after all, it's mine.

What about the lead analysis I did at my internship?  I'm sure about how the samples were collected.  But what about the lab reports?  Are the numbers even real?  Well, I'm forced to assume they are.  I got the numbers directly from the laboratory.

What about the mercury sampling I had done at my last house?  I watched them do the sampling.  But what about the results?

How do I know they weren't lying?

I haven't given much though to what I, as an ordinary person, would do in the situation of needing environmental testing.  The people I purchased that house from had done lead testing.  What would I do?  Just call an 'inspector'?  How does a person verify their honesty/quality, beyond calling to verify the license is current?

This fellow, creating a ruckus in New York City, demonstrates both the fractured nature of public offices as well as the consequences of underfunding government agencies.  The result?  Moaning and wringing hands over the inability of the state to control this, then crying that too many agencies aren't working together.  Is anyone going to sit down, ask "so how can we do this better?" and then change something? change anything?


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