The Straight Dope column Did John Wayne die of cancer caused by a radioactive movie set?
Of the 220 persons who worked on The Conqueror on location in Utah in 1955, 91 had contracted cancer as of the early 1980s and 46 died of it....Experts say under ordinary circumstances only 30 people out of a group of that size should have gotten cancer. The cause? No one can say for sure, but many attribute the cancers to radioactive fallout from U.S. atom bomb tests in nearby Nevada.
Yet the current rates for people to contract cancer and die of cancer are 41% and 21%, respectively (President's Cancer Panel 2010 report, second line of the executive summary). At those rates, one would expect, out of 220 people, 90 to contract cancer and 46 to die of it (on average). Rather than being in excess, the numbers seem to be very consistent with what would be expected. Furthermore, haven't cancer rates decreased in the last few decades due to the lower number of smoking-induced lung cancers, so the expected number of cancers and deaths would have been higher in the 50's?
So I am curious: who are the "experts" who claim only 30 people out of this group should have gotten cancer and why would this group be expected to have cancer rates much lower than the national average?