News Jul 2, 2014 at 4:00 am

Governor Inslee Is Now Weighing the Acceptable Cancer Rate for Fish Eaters Against Business Concerns


Washington State can do well without a Doug Ericksen-induced Bakka crude oil and coal consumption and exporting to Asia, too!
This serves as a reminder that our Puget Sound and Salish Sea waterways are indeed, polluted, and need de-acidification fast! Senator Kevin Ranker (D, Orcas Island) is working on protecting our oceans and the passage through the San Juan Island Archipelago.
The thing that really gets me is that people don't seem to know the difference between necessity and social constructs. Humans willed capitalism into existence and, being that it exists solely in our collective minds, can change and create a new form of social organization if need be.

Meanwhile, the environment is 100% real. If we fuck that up (more) than that's it. I don't give one fuck about jobs lost to prevent pollution.
So businesses are legally allowed to dump some pollution into the sea right now?
I eat salmon about every two weeks. I buy a half fillet, grill, eat some and keep leftovers for 3 days (salmon and eggs for breakfast, salmon and pasta). I just finished my last bit yesterday, by making a platter with swiss cheese, my own whole wheat bread and pickles.

So I must be eating 20 - 30 pounds a year of salmon.
Do we not have any actual data on how much fish we eat?

Seems rather stupid to just have the Governor pick a number.
I'd hope we'd be guided by science in this type of decision. Do a survey and figure out how much fish people eat on average. Or, look at the grocery stores and restaurant supply chains and figure it out from that end.
@6, @7 FTW. There have to be some real data on this. This shouldn't be a political issue at all.
In other words, the letter says, a one-in-a-million cancer risk for people who eat a lot of fish would hurt the economy, while a one-in-a-hundred-thousand risk is more reasonable.
This is not the actual comparison. This is something you just pulled out of your ass. But let me pull something else out of my ass: why not reduce the rate to one-in-a-billion cancer risk? Then you could change your lead-in sentence to:
Washington State has two choices: a 10,000-times-higher rate of cancer among its population, particularly those who eat a lot of fish, or a bedraggled economy.
Wait, I've got en even better idea, let's try a one-in-a-trillion cancer risk:
Washington State has two choices: a 10,000,000-times-higher rate of cancer among its population, particularly those who eat a lot of fish, or a bedraggled economy.
See, it is fun making up bullshit risk statements to validate an alarmist warning.
Here's an idea: let's figure out with the actual number is, and use that. This reminds me of those ridiculous North Carolina politicians who tried to legislate global warming and sea level rise away. The idea that this is a political question is completely absurd.
@10 yes, Ansel is more or less the most annoying "journalist" on the planet. I'm a liberal so I tend to agree with his underlying agenda, but he is such a hyperventilating drama queen/king/monarch whose articles are packed with unsupportable and unfactual rhetoric, ad hominem attacks, and perpetual outrage, that I really conclude that he is not a bit better then a Bill O'Reilly of the left.

I used to think that the stranger did a great job of having a strong editorial voice, yet being rigorous about their reporting and facts, but between Ansel and Paul "the outrage machine" Constant, I think the stranger is losing that quality.

They both need to listen to a few episodes of "on the media" and recollect how to have an opinion and a slant, but still be fair and rigorous.
Ansel, you also want to factor in the radiation from Fukushima getting into the fish we consume from the pacific ocean--Radiation in some albacore tuna caught off the Oregon Coast tripled after Fukushima.

Watch your sushi eating fish eating friends over the next 10 years.
Average consumption is largely meaningless considering the likely great number of people who hardly ever eat fish. The law should be designed to protect the people for whom fish is a central part of their diet.
@12 Do you have any citations to substantiate your bashing of Ansel, because otherwise it is largely meaningless.
@ 6/7/9 - We do have data on the issue and the state has done studies to determine how much fish people eat. But, the question is, who do we want the number to be representative of? The average? The people who eat the most and who are at the most risk? 90% of people? 95% of people? That is the political part of the decision, but that doesn't mean there is no underlying data.
@ 10 - Actually this wasn't pulled out of his ass. The EPA gives states a choice between a cancer risk of 1/100,000 or 1/1,000,000. So that is actually the choice and the comparison. The state will likely raise the Fish Consumption Rate, but drop the cancer risk from the more protective 1/1,000,000 to 1/100,000, making the actual change in Water Quality Standards minimal (but more reflective of reality). And, to some extent, this isn't the issue today. We already can't meet the existing PCB standards because PCBs exist at too high a level basically everywhere on the planet.
@ 12/15 - Just read his terrible coverage of the shooting of that chef who robbed a bank. Some of the worst "reporting" I have ever read, certainly the worst from The Stranger. Although this article seems more or less on point.
#4: Yes, the Clean Water Act permits dumping of toxic waste into waterways. The question is at what level. The "fish consumption rate" is one variable in a complicated formula to determine how much pollution is allowable. It's supposed to allow just one case of cancer for every 1 million people exposed (essentially zero). But with the fish consumption rate set so low, we are currently allowing many additional cases of cancer to occur.
@19 - And the problem with legacy pollutants, like PCBs, is that they aren't really being created anymore, but they don't break down. So the are mostly being cycled around environment at this point and city and county storm drains are a major source. But they arne't actively putting them in. They are being deposited from the air on streets and they are coming from upstream in rivers. It isn't like Boeing is currently using PCBs in their manufacturing process...
#6 #7 #9 #10 #17 -- Yes, there are data on how much heavy fish consumers are eating in the state of Washington, dating as far back as 1995 and replicated in several studies since then. Boeing and others have suggested that several more years of study should be done. And #16 got it exactly right: A key question is how much of the population is to be protected.
#12 As the reporter who broke the story that Boeing killed this effort under the Gregoire administration (and having followed it since), I have to take exception to your criticism of Mr. Herz's story. This piece is a good solid look at an important issue, and one that's *hideously* complex for a reporter to understand. But he got it right.

I have not read everything that this journalist has written, but I have read a fair bit of it and what I have encountered has been admirable reporting.
@4 Yes. There's certainly a limit to how concentrated these pollutants can be, and I believe there's a limit to the overall quantity, but it's certainly legal.

Actually, you dumped some chemicals in the ocean the last time you washed your hair, or drove a car.
I consume no fish bu I live on the Tulalip Reservation and people out here eat lots of fish. Fuck the polluters, set the rate at a real number and get ready to pay for wastewater treatment infrastructure.
@4: We're ALL leaving an impact on the Earth and oceans, but Big Oil and Big Coal are the worst pollution offenders, and shouldn't be allowed to get away with it just for the sake of "record profits" or offering sugar-coated 'Good Jobs Now".
Notice, also, how the railroad monopolies could care less about fixing our infrastructure and easing traffic congestion with all the train delays?
@13: Oh, shit---!! I forgot about the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster from March 4, 2011, and all the radiation-poisoned debris crossing the Pacific Ocean ending up on the West Coast!

It is a simple call. The same call that has been made since poisons were first regulated. Human life is cheap compared to the importance of corporate profits. The only constrainty on business is that business doesn't want to kill off so many of its customers that there are not enough people left to buy goods and services to generate comfortable profits.
Why don't they just say the truth - "fish is poison" - and let it go at that?
We did it to ourselves.
"So businesses are legally allowed to dump some pollution into the sea right now?"
All you have to do is look up "tragedy of the commons".
But the short answer is : yes they can. And the atmosphere. And the land ( as long as it's some land they don't actually own ). And outer space. And along side the highway. And dripping off of their farm fields. And dripping off of their trucks, and trains, and airplanes, and chickens, and cows, and pigs, and subdivisions, and . . .
I eat a lot of fish, much better than beef. The rape of mother earth continues...thanks Boeing. Thanks mr governor. I will not vote for ass licking subservient political tools ever again. Let us tell future children that we couldn't afford to save the planet...what a disgusting mess this capitalist paradigm has born. Rapists, murderers and liars all.
Does all the fish we eat come from the Puget Sound? I am betting not, and Alaska has a lot to do with it. What's Alaska's FCR?
Playing Devil's Advocate here.. ;-)

I am all for a cleaner Puget Sound though, absolutely that's what makes the most sense on all levels. Businesses should be able and prepared to see where the future is going, and we need to get greener, faster. Time to clean up!!

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