Investigate West: Inslee weighs tenfold increase in cancer risk for fish eaters

Robert McClure at Investigate West has zeroed in on the effort by business interests to undercut the fish consumption rate by changing the cancer risk rate:

How much risk of cancer from eating fish is too much? Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has privately advanced a proposal that would likely pass legal muster but that worries Indian tribes and environmentalists. It would allow a tenfold increase in allowable cancer risk under the law.

At a meeting at the governor’s office in early February, according to several of those who attended, the governor laid out two options, both of which lessen the potential burden on polluters:

Boost the estimate of how much fish Washingtonians are eating, but alter another pivotal part of the formula used to set pollution limits: The additional cancer risk from eating fish that is considered acceptable. Traditionally Ecology has set that at one additional cancer case for every 1 million people exposed to a given pollutant. That number could be set at one in 100,000 instead, Inslee suggested, and remain within legal bounds. EPA allows states to set the risk at either level, so long as even highly exposed groups such as Indian tribes face risks no greater than one additional cancer case from eating fish per 10,000 people.

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