Re "Newport Bay's Health Risks Low, Study Says," Sept. 1:
At the invitation of the environmental consulting firm conducting the Newport Beach health risk study, I attended the first health advisory committee meeting held on May 17, 1999, in Oakland. I expressed my concerns that the proposed design of the health effects study was fatally flawed and would not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Several nationally known scientists provided similar concerns.
The major flaw of the study is the reliance on the number of coliphage organisms (viruses that infect bacteria but not humans) to calculate illness rates of swimmers. To my knowledge, there is no scientific evidence that the rate of swimmer illness can be predicted by measuring the number of coliphage particles present in marine waters such as Newport Bay. In my opinion, this study is not scientifically defensible.
After reviewing the draft final report, I regret that I cannot draw any meaningful conclusions from the study regarding the safety of swimming in Newport Bay. I agree with the National Resource Defense Council that the study is a "complete waste of time and resources."
Dr. John F. Skinner
\o7 Newport Beach\f7