Residents of this small town are demanding answers
has recorded a whopping 142 cases of cancer in a ten year span - a rate that is twice as high as that of the general population. Worse yet, the cancers are seemingly unrelated, even though it certainly qualifies as an epidemic.
Onlookers note that Wewelsfleth is only a few miles from three nuclear power stations, that it is situated near an industrial shipyard "where vessels were once sprayed with highly toxic paint," and that many residents' garages are roofed with asbestos. And in the words of The Sun, England's finest tabloid news source, the town also suffers from "electro-smog from power lines."
None of these single factors, taken on its own, would be enough to account for such a shockingly high cancer rate. Could all of them together do the trick? Or is there something the German government isn't telling this sleepy country village?
In reading this article, I found myself wondering questions which the article doesn't ask. The most obvious question is, what about Wewelsfleth's neighbors? This charming little town is only a few miles from several neighboring villages, including Beldenfleth, Borsfleth, and Blomesche Wildness. Is Wewelsfleth's cancer rate 50% higher than that of those villages, too? Or is this cancer cluster spread across the area as a whole?
The answer to this question - basically drawing the boundary map on this cancer cluster - is the real curiosity. Even though many authorities have dismissed the idea of "cancer clusters" as being statistical anomalies or works of the human mind's need to establish patterns, there are a number of perfectly scientific reasons why a cancer cluster could occur.
I am put in mind of the fellow who was recently detained by the police in Sweden because he had obtained his own uranium, and had made his own countertop nuclear reactor. I imagine in time, a cancer cluster could show up among his immediate neighbors. How many goofballs are out there right now, handling nuclear materials sloppily, who aren't being caught by the police?
Not too sure about that claim of "electro-smog," though. Wewelsfleth looks like a charmingly pastoral sort of town. If "electro-smog" is going to cause cancer, you would think it would be a problem in big cities like Berlin, where electrical lines are everywhere. Wewelsfleth looks more like the sort of town where you're likely to encounter a really good ham dinner or slice of torte than a slow death by cancer. I hope they find the cause soon.