Potential panic

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Risk is a widely misunderstood concept, which may explain why The Scotsman has reported that the radioactive particles found on the beach at Dalgety Bay pose a health risk (“Radiation particles do pose health risk, delayed report finds”, 20 May).

However, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation merely highlighted “a potential risk”, The Scotsman has also reported and described as “possible health risks”.

The use of the word “potential” means that, although there is no risk at present, one might develop. Consequently, it is quite wrong to claim, as the Scotsman report does, that an actual risk exists. Also, it may turn out, as some suspect, that the risk to health from these particles is less that that of drowning in the water near the beach.

I regard the calls for a clean-up of this beach as an unnecessary panic and overreaction. Like all beaches, it will be naturally radio­active, the particles found ­adding hardly anything to the background radiation.

Steuart Campbell

Dovecot Loan

Edinburgh