In summer months, hikers, bikers, and families looking for a nice place for a picnic visit the park where Times Beach, Missouri
, used to be.
A relatively wealthy community, populated by relatively well-educated citizens who are politically efficacious (e.g., Aspen, Colorado), is more likely to respond to risk differently, and be treated by public authorities more generously, than is a community that is relatively poor, populated by relatively poorly educated citizens who are politically isolated (e.g., Times Beach, Missouri
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) reassessment of the dangers of dioxin, the chemical that shuttered Times Beach, Missouri
in 1982 and earlier rained over Vietnam in the defoliant called Agent Orange, calculates that the average American carries some 40 to 60 parts per trillion of dioxin compounds in our tissues, a level of exposure that, while minute, is "very near the levels expected to cause adverse health effects."
"Call one chemical compound dioxin and Times Beach, Missouri
, will be evacuated to avoid it." (The town was closed down in 1983 after high levels of dioxin were discovered.)
How many residents died as a result of dioxin contamination at Times Beach, Missouri
? Given the press play and the costly regulatory response to these once-famous contamination crises, you'd naturally think at least scores of people were harmed, right?