2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 5 Mar 2002 17:45:55 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] Almost All in U.S. Have Been Exposed to Fallout, Study Fi

For Immediate Release

Contact: Arjun Makhijani 301-270-5500
Lisa Ledwidge 612-879-7517 (on 1 March or after).

About Eighty Thousand Cancers in the United States, More Than 15,000
of Them Fatal, Attributable to Fallout from Worldwide Atmospheric 
Nuclear Testing

Hot Spots Occurred Thousands of Miles from Testing Areas, Government
Study Shows

Independent Institute Calls for Public Health Response, Compensation and 
a Global Truth Commission

Takoma Park, Maryland, Feb. 28, 2002: An estimated 80,000 people who
lived in or were born in the United States between the years 1951 and
2000 will contract cancer as a result of the fallout caused by
atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, according to an analysis of
government studies by the Institute for Energy and Environmental
Research.   Well over 15,000 of these cases would be fatal. The most
recent government study, a fact sheet, and official fallout maps are> 
posted on the IEER web site http://www.ieer.org . The report and maps
are also scheduled to be posted at the Centers for Disease Control web
site, www.cdc.gov .  The maps show cumulative fallout and
county-by-county radiation dose and fallout patterns.  These are
proxies for geographic patterns of excess cancers that would be 
attributable to radiation.

The government report, prepared by the National Cancer Institute and
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates radiation doses
from testing at the Nevada Test Site as well as from testing outside
of the continental United States.  The latter category includes U.S.
tests in the Marshall Islands and Johnston Atoll in the Pacific region, 
Soviet tests in Semipalatinsk (now in Kazakhstan) and Novaya Zemlya 
(Russia), and British tests on Christmas Island.

"This report and other official data show that hot spots occurred
thousands of miles away from the test sites," said Dr. Arjun
Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental 
Research.  Hot spots due to testing in Nevada occurred as far away as 
New York and Maine.  Hot spots from U.S. Pacific area testing and also 
Soviet testing were scattered across the United States from California, 
Oregon, Washington, and in the West to New Hampshire, Vermont and North 
Carolina in the East." 

"Despite that fact that its own studies have long shown extensive harm
to people, including children, the U.S. government has had no
effective public health response," said Lisa Ledwidge, a biologist and 
IEER's Outreach Director for the United States.  "We applaud the fact 
that the United States government has been honest enough to say that it 
has armed its own people, though it did so only under prolonged pressure 
from the people and some of its elected representatives.  It is the only 
nuclear-weapon state to have done so.  But it is not enough to estimate 
numbers or say you're sorry.  The harm is still occurring.  The 
government needs to inform people fully."

In the 1950s the government informed photographic film producers of
expected fallout patterns so they could protect their film supply, but
did nothing to inform milk producers so that they could protect a
vital component of the food supply.  "It is late in the day," said Ms.
Ledwidge.  "The government should not only urgently formulate a health
and compensation response strategy with public involvement, it should
implement it without any further delay."

The study was mandated by Congress through legislation passed in 1998,
after a 1997 National Cancer Institute report that dealt with only one
radionuclide, iodine-131, and doses to the thyroid alone showed
extensive exposures across the United States.  Hot spots were
scattered across the continent.  The most affected counties were as far 
away as Idaho and Montana.

"The 1997 report indicates that some farm children, those who drank
goat's milk in the 1950s in high fallout areas were as severely
exposed as the worst exposed children after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear 
power plant accident.  Such exposure creates a high probability of a 
variety of illnesses," " said Dr. Makhijani.  "Yet the government did 
nothing to inform the people in these affected areas."

Kenneth Strickler, who was born in 1954 in Challis, Idaho, a high
fallout area, and grew up there, learned in 1998 that he had thyroid
cancer after his physician ran some tests. "The government should make
the public aware of the symptoms of the types of cancer that might be
caused from downwind syndrome," he said.  "They should publish an ad
in the newspapers so that people can look for more information at their 
web site."

He suspected that a malfunctioning thyroid might be responsible for
his strange metabolic symptoms as a result of information about thyroid 
radiation doses from fallout given to him by his sister, Nikki Doll. Ms. 
Doll attended a talk given in 1998 in Challis by Dr. Makhijani as part 
of a tour organized by the Snake River Alliance.

"It is very frightening to know that radioactive tests were conducted
by the United States and other countries with the knowledge that some
harm might come to those who lived in the path of fallout," said Ms. 
Doll. "If the public is made aware of the possible dangers that hide in 
their environment, they can be alert to the symptoms and seek early
diagnosis and treatment of a disease if it strikes.  The U.S. government 
needs to be responsible for its actions and to inform us about what they 
did and how it is affecting our lives and how it will continue to affect 
the lives of those we love."

"Now is the time for people from nuclear weapons states to call for
truth from their governments.  Right here in Idaho we know the news is
grim.   There are hot spots all over the inter-mountain West," said
Margaret Macdonald Stewart, Development Director of the Snake River
Alliance.  "Now the job - the U.S. government's job - is to take the
news to small towns all over this region and help unsuspecting people
whose health has been damaged by nuclear weapons."

"The United States has a compensation program for Nevada Test Site
neighbors who are geographical downwinders.  But this is clearly not
enough," explained Ms. Ledwidge.  "There are hot spots thousands of
miles from tests sites and the new definition of 'downwinder' should
include all of them."

"The new fallout maps and radiation dose estimates show that nuclear
weapons states not only harmed their own people but also people in
other countries," said Dr. Makhijani.  "U.S., Soviet, and other testing 
likely created hot spots in Canada and Scandinavia, for instance.  There 
may have been hot spots in many other countries all over the world.  It 
is high time for the United Nations to create a Global Truth Commission 
that would examine in detail comparable to the U.S government studies 
the harm that has been inflicted upon the people of the world by nuclear 
weapons production and testing.  Nuclear weapons states owe an honest 
accounting, treatment, and compensation to the victims of the nuclear 


Related documents available at the IEER web site:

Fact Sheet  - http://www.ieer.org/comments/fallout/factsht.html
Official Fallout Maps -
CDC/NCI Progress Report -

Lisa Ledwidge
Outreach Director, United States, and Editor of Science for Democratic
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER)
2104 Stevens Ave. South |  Minneapolis, MN 55404  USA
phone:  (612) 879-7517  |  fax:  (612) 879-7518
ieer@ieer.org  |  http://www.ieer.org

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