[ RadSafe ] uranium smoke is a teratogen

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Wed May 21 11:05:45 CDT 2008


> SD's comments:
> .... According to the second of Olsen's articles (April 15, 2008), 
> "The shipment is safe, Hyslop said, because the concentration of 
> uranium in the sand is so low  about 10 parts per trillion. That 
> concentration  about
> 0.00000000001 percent  is about five to 10 times higher than the 
> concentration of uranium found in concrete or wall board, he said."

Chad Hyslop said this nine days later:  "In one preliminary sample, the
concentration of lead in the sand was nearly four times higher than the
EPA standard that triggers a hazardous-material designation.... The
sample contained 19 milligrams of lead per liter...."

Hi, Ben/James.

Let's talk about credibility for a moment.  Do you want to be credible
with this group?  I assume you do.  If you do, you need to decide to
stop doing things like the exchange above.  When faced with strong
evidence that DU concentrations in this shipment was very, very low; too
low to be a health risk in any credible exposure scenario, you could
have responded, "You are right; there really isn't a problem, and it is
an over-reaction and waste of money to ship that sand half way around
the world for disposal."  Instead, you said (to paraphrase), "OH YEAH!?!
Well, what about the lead?  SO THERE!"  If you had thought about it for
a moment you would have realized that given the handling this sand was
already going to receive the lead would present no problem at all
(indeed, that was stated quite clearly in the article you linked to),
and that you bringing up the lead was not going to strengthen your
original position about DU.  

This tendency when faced with evidence that your original position is in
error to shift without acknowledging you were wrong in the first place
does not give the reader the impression that you are interested in
arriving at the truth, but only at convincing people that you are right,
whether or not you are.  While this is only one of the things you do
that harm your credibility, it is a pretty easy one to fix.  Let's start
with a simple exercise:

When was the last time you were wrong about some aspect of DU; in
particular, when you originally thought that something supported the
position that DU is a serious health problem, but it turned out that it
didn't? (NOTE: I am NOT asking you to concede that DU is not a serious
health problem, only that you, in your zealousness, may have
misinterpreted something as supporting your position when it didn't.)
Did you acknowledge your error to the person who demonstrated it?  If
so, how?  If not, why?

Your ability to admit the possibility that you are wrong will improve
the chances that knowledgeable people might accept the possibility that
you are right.

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