GRE Argument Essay 161
The following appeared as an editorial in a health magazine.
“Clormium 5 is an odorless, tasteless, and generally harmless industrial by-product that can enter the water supply. A preliminary study has linked cooking with water containing clormium 5 to an increased incidence of allergies and skin rashes. Tests of the drinking water in several areas have revealed the presence of clormium 5. Although it is possible to remove clormium 5 from water, the costs of routine testing and purification are higher than many communities can afford. Therefore, in order to prevent allergies and skin rashes, communities that cannot afford to rid their drinking water of clormium 5 should replace drinking fountains in public buildings, such as schools and libraries, with bottled-water coolers.”
The editorial claims that though Clormium 5 is generally harmless, it has been proved to be the cause of allergies and skin rashes when water with clormium 5 is used for cooking. Furthermore, drinking water being supplied in several areas has been found to contain clormium 5. The arguer brings out that the costs of routine testing and purification of drinking water may be out of the financial reach of most communities. In view of the above, the arguer recommends that communities that cannot afford to get their drinking water purified should replace the drinking fountains in public buildings with bottled-water coolers. However, in several respects, the evidence provided by the arguer does little to substantiate the recommendation made.
Firstly, the arguer makes contradictory statements in the opening lines of the argument itself. If the industrial by-product clormium 5 is ‘generally harmless’, then it cannot be dangerous to the health of humans unless it is present in water in alarming proportions. A major flaw in the argument is that the arguer makes no mention of the percentage of clormium 5 in water that can lead to allergies and skin rashes. Moreover, there is no mention of the percentage of clormium 5 in the drinking water that has tested to be positive for clormium 5. It is highly likely that the percentage of clormium 5 found in drinking water is much below the level that can be termed as the threshold level for causing allergies and skin rashes. Therefore, due to the absence of such information, the reader cannot be convinced that the drinking water is indeed polluted to the extent that remedial action, as suggested by the recommendation made, is absolutely necessary.
Secondly, the arguer does not provide complete information related to the preliminary study that has been carried out. Additionally, the preliminary study does not provide information related to the effects of clormium 5 when it is not being used for cooking. The water used for cooking may have contained other compounds that resulted in the allergies and skin rashes. Moreover, as these effects have been observed when water is used for cooking, it is possible that clormium 5 reacts in heat to form another compound that causes these allergies and the same water is totally harmless when it is consumed at lower temperatures in the form of drinking water. Therefore, the results of the preliminary study are doubtful and the arguer has unfairly utilized these unsubstantiated results to bolster his argument.
Thirdly, there is no indication of the areas from where the drinking water samples were collected for testing purposes. It is likely that these samples were collected from a small area and therefore, the results of the test cannot be considered applicable for the entire city. Therefore, replacing the drinking fountains at all public buildings with bottled-water coolers on the basis of these random samples is not justified. The arguer does not present a cost analysis of replacing drinking water fountains with bottled-water coolers and the purification of water. In the absence of such data, it cannot be hastily concluded that the recommended replacement would be a cheaper option than the purification of drinking water. Moreover, as the allergies have been found to come up when water with clormium 5 is used for cooking, replacing the drinking fountains seems to be an unnecessary action.
In conclusion, the reader needs to be provided with additional information related to the preliminary study in order to find the recommendation convincing enough. Moreover, there is a need to provide information related to the levels of clormium 5 that can be considered as detrimental to health. The cost comparison of the replacement of drinking water fountains with bottled-water coolers and the purification process is also required. The absence of such data has rendered the argument highly unconvincing.