Delaware waste site: 36,000% chance of cancer?

We’ve all heard of giving the mythical 110% in terms of effort. Now reporter Jeff Montgomery writes about a hazardous waste site in Delaware that is way more than guaranteed to give a visitor cancer.

About the abandoned Metachem waste site, Montgomery reports,

“Inhaling dust inside the fence at Metachem, where vapors of pesticide ingredients and dioxins swirl in the wind, could increase the risk of cancer 900 times over a lifetime.”

Given that about 40 percent of Americans can expect to develop some sort of invasive cancer during their lifetimes and assuming for the sake of argument that cancer strikes randomly (it doesn’t), then anyone who even approaches the site would be more than guaranteed to get cancer (40% times 900), according to Montgomery’s hysterical writing.

Perhaps what Montgomery meant to write was that exposure to dust at the Metachem site might increase one’s risk of cancer by 900 times one-in-a-million (0.000001), a sort of baseline incremental cancer risk level used by the U.S. EPA. If so, then what Montgomery meant to write was that exposure to site dust would up one’s lifetime cancer risk from about 40% to 40.09%. Of course, since “about 40%” is indistinguishable from 40.09%, the site is unlikely to meaningfully raise anyone’s risk of cancer.

Such a slight and hypothetical incremental increase in risk should give Delaware pause as to whether it really wants to spend $100 million returning the Metachem site back to a risk level the EPA would consider as safe, say 40.009%. What may be in more dire need of remediation is how reports environmental news.

6 thoughts on “Delaware waste site: 36,000% chance of cancer?”

  1. For far less than $100M you could post signs telling people to stay back from the fence.

    And where did the 900 times greater possibility come from?

    Was it extracted from his right or his left ear?

  2. The orifice you speak of is the one the reporter KEEPS his head in. This explains why his article is full of fecal material.

  3. 36,000% means you could share it with your friends, family, and everybody you talk to on the phone – such as customer service representatives in Bangladesh!

  4. This is irrational use of numbers is indicative high blood methane levels. The most common cause of this condition is direct visualization of the distal colon. Since the space lacks significant volumes of oxygen, and virtually no exchange of gasses with the atmosphere while in this state, hypoxia and hypercarbia cannot be ruled out as contributing factors. However, since many people seem to tolerate this state for long periods of time, one has to wonder what their physiological systems have adapted to. One could easily envision a marginal consciousness just above a vegetative state in which the above conditions would be tolerated. At least this would explain the incessant repeating of fraudulent claims, and poor cognitive use of the higher brain functions.

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