[ RadSafe ] Go Figure: How can you explain cancer clusters?

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Fri May 13 17:23:28 CDT 2011

In this regard, an interesting experiment to try with your non-scientist friends 
is the following:
1) pin a map of your state or country to the wall,
2) throw 2 darts randomly on to the map,
3) note the  city or town closest to where each dart landed
4) find the cancer rate of each community- inevitably one community will have a 
higher rate than the      other
5) ask your non-scientist friends what they think might account for the 
I have tried this a few times and get responses suggesting different "pollution" 
levels, types of industry , age of population, etc., but never have I received a 
response suggesting that this is just a matter of random variation.

From: "Brennan, Mike  (DOH)" <Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV>
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) MailingList 
<radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Fri, May 13, 2011 1:44:22 PM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Go Figure: How can you explain cancer clusters?

Or there can be a causal relationship, just not the one people think.

I am reminded of a story (it may be true, but as I've heard similar
stories for different facilities, it might be illustrative of a concept)
of a "study" by a group against a particular facility (a nuclear power
plant in one of the versions, but any big industrial facility will do),
showing that cancer deaths increased in the county the facility was
located in, starting shortly after operations started.  What was not in
the study was that, in part due to increased tax base, a county hospital
was opened about the time that cancer deaths increased.  Previously,
residence of that county who had cancer had gone to other hospitals in
other counties, and often died there.  

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Fred Dawson
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 1:06 AM
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Go Figure: How can you explain cancer clusters?

More information about the RadSafe mailing list