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Regarding the brief JIJI article published Nov. 12, “CO2 could relieve urbanites’ stress in low doses”: This is an unforgivably sloppy piece of headline writing and editing that makes me question the integrity of The Japan Times.

The headline states that carbon dioxide could reduce stress in low doses. Then the first paragraph states that “Toxic carbon monoxide gas belching from car exhausts on city streets could actually ease the stress of urban living, according to scientists …”

What does that have to do with the headline?

The second paragraph states that 36 healthy adults sent into fume-laden situations on Tel Aviv streets “suffered less than expected from traffic fumes.” The third paragraph states “The most surprising find of the study … was in looking at the levels of carbon dioxide that participants inhaled during their time in the city.”

Nothing is mentioned about what these carbon dioxide levels were or what they were expected to be. Nor were any conclusions drawn from the experiment.

The final paragraph reads “Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas that can be fatal in high concentrations.” Now we are back to carbon monoxide.

I am not a scientist or a journalist, but in case you don’t know, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are not the same thing. Carbon dioxide — regardless of whether you believe it is responsible for global warming or not — is a nontoxic, naturally occurring gas that is essential for plant photosynthesis, without which none of us would be here.

A newspaper that has seemed to be on the side of truth with regard to its reports on the ongoing nuclear disaster really damages its credibility with such careless nonsense. This article should be used in journalism training as an example of what should never be allowed into print — if a newspaper wants to retain readership.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

alex trouchet

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