It's appropriate to respond to the note from Jim Dukelow by making the following points:
- Lost in all the rhetoric is the main point in "Misplaced health worries in a world of hazards" that millions or billions are spent in compliance and enforcement might be better used in ways that would save many more lives, and sometimes the cost is not worth the potential benefit. I say "potential" because in many cases, the risks involved are only hypothetical, extrapolations from studies in laboratory animals that may have little or no bearing on people. I bought the book "How Much Risk? A Guide
to Understanding Environmental Health Hazards" and will read it soon.
- Asbestos is one of many useful substances that are banned because of scares that were created, and many people now are employed protecting us from potential hazards that are relatively small in relation to the significant ones identified in proper risk assessments that count the many real people who were injured or killed, and the doses received.
- The information I shared about the insulation protecting the structural steel in the WTC was incorrect because I did not listen carefully enough and did not investigate further, and I apologized for that. In the discussions that took place, we learned that spray-on insulation is not a very effective protection for large fires - a wall of concrete is much better. This discussion process is very important and useful, especially if personal attacks are avoided.
- "What drives me nuts" is that very many smart people seem to accept the myth that small amounts of radiation are a serious health concern without investigating its accuracy. They do not openly challenge the basis for this notion. They allow millions and billions of dollars to be spent on compliance and enforcement. They allow very important technologies (including medical treatments) to be hamstrung with fears and over-regulations, way out of proportion to the actual number of people who are injured and killed (very few). On the other hand, many lives could be saved or extended and environmental damage significantly reduced if these very many smart people investigated and challenged what is going on. Will Jim speak out on this more important matter also?