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Don’t hold your breath

Don’t hold your breath
Here’s a question that should take your breath away: do Americans find Kim Kardashian more believable than Albert Einstein?

If you spend time checking out blogs or recent headlines, it seems Americans today trust celebrity over science (and scientists). This growing distrust is happening, in part, because science is confusing, not to mention, contradictory. And let’s face it; scientists aren’t always great at explaining themselves.

Case in point; a recent story, “Study Ties Farming to Air Pollution Deaths,”  claims farming, or the air pollution caused by agriculture, is killing people. But, take a breath before you read on, because this “study” mostly drew conclusions from air pollution deaths in China, India and Pakistan, which were caused by soot and factory emissions.

This is where confusion sets in for many folks, because just a couple weeks before this ‘air pollution’ study was published, the same newspaper that printed that story, printed one which claims growing up on a farm makes you healthier, and less likely to have asthma and allergies. Something about being exposed to ‘farm dirt’ and dust and livestock makes Iowa farm kids hardy, healthy and resilient to many illnesses. So, what is a common sense, health-obsessed Iowan to think, the next time they take a drive through rural Iowa, say, to visit a pumpkin patch, or take in autumn’s changing leaves? You know, thousands of Iowans enjoy a beautiful drive through the countryside this time of year.

Well, I say, breathe deep, and, take in the views in northwest Iowa while you’re at it; Sioux County has more livestock per capita than any other county in Iowa, and always ranks at the top, or near the top in the annual ‘County Health Rankings’ report.

One thing’s for sure; it’s easier to talk to a farmer, than a scientist if you’re keen to know more about clean, healthy living in rural Iowa. You don’t even need to jump in your car to do it. You can start here or here or here.

By Laurie Johns. Laurie is Iowa Farm Bureau's public relations manager.