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QOTD: Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary school

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QOTD: Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary school [#permalink]

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 161: Critical Reasoning


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Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary schools as cleaners or pesticides causes allergic reactions in some children. Elementary school nurses in Renston report that the proportion of schoolchildren sent to them for treatment of allergic reactions to those chemicals has increased significantly over the past ten years. Therefore, either Renston's schoolchildren have been exposed to greater quantities of the chemicals, or they are more sensitive to them than schoolchildren were ten years ago.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

(A) The number of school nurses employed by Renston's elementary schools has not decreased over the past ten years.
(B) Children who are allergic to the chemicals are no more likely than other children to have allergies to other substances.
(C) Children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are not more likely to be sent to a school nurse now than they were ten years ago.
(D) The chemicals are not commonly used as cleaners or pesticides in houses and apartment buildings in Renston.
(E) Children attending elementary school do not make up a larger proportion of Renston's population now than they did ten years ago.

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Re: QOTD: Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary school [#permalink]

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Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary schools as cleaners or pesticides causes allergic reactions in some children. Elementary school nurses in Renston report that the proportion of schoolchildren sent to them for treatment of allergic reactions to those chemicals has increased significantly over the past ten years. Therefore, either Renston's schoolchildren have been exposed to greater quantities of the chemicals, or they are more sensitive to them than schoolchildren were ten years ago.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

(A) The number of school nurses employed by Renston's elementary schools has not decreased over the past ten years.
(B) Children who are allergic to the chemicals are no more likely than other children to have allergies to other substances.
(C) Children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are not more likely to be sent to a school nurse now than they were ten years ago.
(D) The chemicals are not commonly used as cleaners or pesticides in houses and apartment buildings in Renston.
(E) Children attending elementary school do not make up a larger proportion of Renston's population now than they did ten years ago.


I think the answer is C. The author of the statement has concluded that the children have either been exposed to a higher level of chemicals or are more sensitive than children were ten years ago but is assuming that there is not an alternative reason why children are going to the nurse. C is the only answer that supports that conclusion since if children were more likely to be sent to the nurse than before, it could be something other high exposure or sensitivity.

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QOTD: Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary school [#permalink]

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New post 21 Nov 2017, 20:13
The author concludes that one of two things has happened over the past ten years: either 1) Renston’s schoolchildren have been exposed to greater quantities of the chemicals, or 2) they are more sensitive to the chemicals than schoolchildren were ten years ago. How does the author arrive at this conclusion?

  • We are given that exposure to cleaners and pesticides commonly used in schools can cause allergic reactions in some children.
  • Over the past ten years, the proportion of schoolchildren sent to school nurses for allergic reactions to THOSE chemicals has increased significantly.

The author states two possible explanations for this increase, but are those the only options? The author's explanation will only hold up if one of the following is assumed:

Quote:
(A) The number of school nurses employed by Renston's elementary schools has not decreased over the past ten years.

A change to the number of nurses doesn't impact the number of students sent to see the nurses, so (A) can be eliminated.

Quote:
(B) Children who are allergic to the chemicals are no more likely than other children to have allergies to other substances.

We are not concerned with allergies to other substances. Regardless of whether children allergic to the chemicals are more likely to have allergies to other substances, we still need to explain why more students are now sent to the nurses because of reactions to THOSE chemicals. The two theories in the conclusion are only meant to explain the increase in the number of schoolchildren sent to the nurses because of THOSE chemicals, so choice (B) is irrelevant.

Quote:
(C) Children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are not more likely to be sent to a school nurse now than they were ten years ago.

According to the argument, the increase in the proportion of schoolchildren sent to the elementary school nurses is due to either greater exposure to the chemicals or a greater sensitivity to the chemicals. But what if children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are more likely to be sent to a school nurse now than they were ten years ago? Maybe the amount and severity of the allergic reactions was the same ten years ago but students were simply less likely to be sent to the nurse back then. Maybe ten years ago the teachers simply let the suffering students remain in class with watery eyes and running noses (for example).

That could explain the increase in the proportion of schoolchildren sent to the elementary school nurses, even if students' exposure and sensitivity to the chemicals has not changed. In order for the argument to hold, the author must assume that children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are NOT more likely to be sent to a school nurse now than they were ten years ago. Choice (C) looks good.

Quote:
(D) The chemicals are not commonly used as cleaners or pesticides in houses and apartment buildings in Renston.

Perhaps the cleaners ARE commonly used in houses and apartments, but we don't care about WHERE the students were exposed to the chemicals. If exposure has increased, whether at school or at home, then the author's argument would be valid. The author does not say that exposure has increased AT THE SCHOOLS, so choice (D) can be eliminated.

Quote:
(E) Children attending elementary school do not make up a larger proportion of Renston's population now than they did ten years ago.

We are trying to explain an increase in the PROPORTION of students sent to the nurses, not an increase in the TOTAL NUMBER of students sent to the nurses. Thus, an increase in the number of students or the proportion of the population attending elementary schools does not matter. We need to explain the increase in the PROPORTION sent to the nurses for those allergic reactions. Choice (E) is not a required assumption and can be eliminated.

Choice (C) is the best answer.
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Re: QOTD: Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary school [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2017, 02:07
souvik101990 wrote:
[textarea]

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 161: Critical Reasoning



Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary schools as cleaners or pesticides causes allergic reactions in some children. Elementary school nurses in Renston report that the proportion of schoolchildren sent to them for treatment of allergic reactions to those chemicals has increased significantly over the past ten years. Therefore, either Renston's schoolchildren have been exposed to greater quantities of the chemicals, or they are more sensitive to them than schoolchildren were ten years ago.


Summary - Nurses assume children are more exposed to chemicals, or more sensitive than children were 10 years ago as the # of cases has increased significantly.
Assumption - The likelihood of children sent to the nurse after being exposed is the same as it was 10 years ago. In other words, nothing has changed.


Quote:
Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

(A) The number of school nurses employed by Renston's elementary schools has not decreased over the past ten years.


The number of nurses has decreased over the past ten years. Great, but it has no impact on the conclusion. OUT

Quote:
(B) Children who are allergic to the chemicals are no more likely than other children to have allergies to other substances.

I won't even try an opposite test on this option, as it's irrelevant. OUT!


Quote:
(C) Children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are not more likely to be sent to a school nurse now than they were ten years ago.

Children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are MORE LIKELY to be sent to a school nurse than they were ten years ago. If that's the case, it completely destroys the argument's conclusion that students are either more sensitive now, or are more exposed to the chemicals.

KEEP!


Quote:
(D) The chemicals are not commonly used as cleaners or pesticides in houses and apartment buildings in Renston.

This option is similar to in other countries blah blah blah happens. We are only concerned with the use of the pesticides and cleaners at the school.
TO make this assumption work, we would also have to assume that even though the students were exposed at home, they were sent to the school nurse instead of going to the doctor at a hospital etc.

OUT!


Quote:
(E) Children attending elementary school do not make up a larger proportion of Renston's population now than they did ten years ago.

This is irrelevant. OUT!


C is the answer IMO.
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QOTD: Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary school [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2017, 04:04
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 161: Critical Reasoning


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Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary schools as cleaners or pesticides causes allergic reactions in some children. Elementary school nurses in Renston report that the proportion of schoolchildren sent to them for treatment of allergic reactions to those chemicals has increased significantly over the past ten years. Therefore, either Renston's schoolchildren have been exposed to greater quantities of the chemicals, or they are more sensitive to them than schoolchildren were ten years ago.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

(A) The number of school nurses employed by Renston's elementary schools has not decreased over the past ten years.
(B) Children who are allergic to the chemicals are no more likely than other children to have allergies to other substances.
(C) Children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are not more likely to be sent to a school nurse now than they were ten years ago.
(D) The chemicals are not commonly used as cleaners or pesticides in houses and apartment buildings in Renston.
(E) Children attending elementary school do not make up a larger proportion of Renston's population now than they did ten years ago.

Every question of the day will be followed by an expert reply by GMATNinja in 12-15 hours. Stay tuned! Post your answers and explanations to earn kudos.


The argument concludes by stating that the increase in proportion of school children sent to elementary school nurses for treatment of allergic reactions to chemicals might be either because the students have been exposed to greater quantities of the chemicals, or that they are more sensitive to chemicals than schoolchildren were ten years ago. The argument is hence, assuming that these are the only 2 possible reasons for the increased proportion. Thus, we need to find an answer choice that eliminates any alternative reasons. What would cause the conclusion to break down ? - Pointing out an alternative reason. Possible alternatives : 1) What if the number of students has increased over the past ten years ? Then the proportion could be higher without children being more sensitive or being exposed to these chemicals on a greater scale. 2) What if earlier also the magnitude of the reaction was similar but children were not sent to schools then ( ten years ago) probably because it was felt that a treatment is not required, however over the period of ten years more children are being sent to nurses.

(A) The number of school nurses employed by Renston's elementary schools has not decreased over the past ten years. - The number of nurses is irrelevant; the argument is talking about the proportion of reported cases here.
(B) Children who are allergic to the chemicals are no more likely than other children to have allergies to other substances. - argument talks about allergies to only chemicals and not other substances.
(C) Children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are not more likely to be sent to a school nurse now than they were ten years ago. - Yes, negate this: Children who have allergic reactions to the chemicals are more likely to be sent to a school nurse now than they were ten years ago. This would naturally lead in an increased proportion of students being sent to nurses and this breaks down the conclusion that there can only be two possible reasons.
(D) The chemicals are not commonly used as cleaners or pesticides in houses and apartment buildings in Renston. - This is irrelevant.
(E) Children attending elementary school do not make up a larger proportion of Renston's population now than they did ten years ago. - The comparison and argument is limited to elementary school children and is nowhere related to the rest of the population.

C is correct.

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QOTD: Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary school   [#permalink] 22 Nov 2017, 04:04
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QOTD: Exposure to certain chemicals commonly used in elementary school

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