Why I Absolutely Do Not Believe in Secondhand Smoke

Limbaugh has taken to saying it's arrogant for man to think he can destroy the planet. I take that as hyperbole, but maybe he's literally right. Remember the apocalyptic predictions about Chernobyl? I remember the kids at my college doing their semester abroad that year put together a parody: Let's Glow Europe. Now 8 UN agencies have issued a joint report saying that Chernobyl caused a total of 50 deaths to date (4000 had been predicted) --most of which came in the immediate aftermath of the accident. According to WaPo,
The report said that nine children had died of thyroid cancer, but that the survival rate among the 4,000 children in the region who had developed thyroid cancer has been 99 percent. An expected spike in fertility problems and birth defects also failed to materialize, the study found.
"No evidence or likelihood of decreased fertility among the affected population has been found, nor has there been any evidence of congenital malformations."In fact, the report said, apart from radiation-induced deaths, the "largest public health problem created by the accident" was its effect on the mental health of residents who were traumatized by their rapid relocation and the fear, still lingering, that they would almost certainly contract terminal cancer. The report said that lifestyle diseases, such as alcoholism, among affected residents posed a much greater threat than exposure.
Moreover, it's actually become something of a paradise.
The report also found that except for a nearly 20-mile exclusion zone around the reactor, radiation levels have returned to acceptable levels in many areas where land had been abandoned for fear of contamination. "By radiological criteria alone a significant part of the abandoned agricultural lands (more than 70 percent) could be returned to economic use," the report said. The abandonment of large tracts of land, combined with a ban on hunting, has led to a dramatic increase in wild animals and birds, including wolves, elk, wild boars, white-tailed eagles, owls, cranes and black storks."Without a permanent residency of humans for 20 years, the ecosystems around the Chernobyl site are now flourishing," the report said. "It looks like the nature park it has become."
Amazing. No lasting harm comes from the worst nuclear accident in history, but I'm supposed to believe my child will die if he's in the same room with a smoker every now and again? I must say this makes me wonder, though --about the occasional documentaries I have seen over the years about how terrible conditions are in the towns surrounding Chernobyl. And about the missionary who preached at the Mass we attended on vacation who told us about his order's work among the suffering of Chernobyl.