Saturday, April 06, 2013

cancer pandemic: reaping the seeds of nuclear testing

globalresearch | The warnings about fallout from nuclear tests six decades ago often noted that cancers from the radiation would probably not begin appearing in large numbers for many years. But that time is now – and medical experts are wondering whether the surge in some cancers is a result.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission doused the entire United States with thyroid cancer-causing iodine-131 — and 300 other radioisotopes — by exploding atomic and hydrogen bombs above ground. To protect the dirty, secretive, militarized bomb-building industry, the government chose to warn the photographic film industry about the radioactive fallout patterns, but not the general public.

In 1951, the Eastman Kodak Company had threatened a federal lawsuit over the nuclear fallout that was fogging its bulk film shipments. Film was not packed in bubble wrap then, but in corn stalks that were sometimes being fallout-contaminated.

Image: During nuclear bomb drills in the 1950s, school children were ordered to hide under their desks.

By agreeing to warn Kodak, etc., the AEC and the bomb program avoided the public uproar — and the bomb testing program’s possible cancellation — that a lawsuit would have precipitated. The settlement kept the deadliness of the fallout hidden from farmers and the public, even though the government well knew that fallout endangered all the people it was supposed to be defending.

This staggering revelation was heralded on Sept. 30, 1997, in the New York Times headline, “U.S. Warned Film Plants, Not Public, About Nuclear Fallout.” The article began, “[W]hile the Government reassured the public that there was no health threat from atmospheric nuclear tests…” The fallout’s radioactive iodine-131delivered thyroid doses to virtually all 160 million people in the U.S. at the time.

According to the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) in Takoma Park, Maryland, which discovered the cover-up, children were especially affected and received higher doses because they generally consumed more milk than adults and since their thyroids are smaller and growing more rapidly. The “milk pathway” moves radioiodine from grass, to cows, to milk with extreme efficiency — a fact known to the government as early as 1951.

Ingested iodine-131 concentrates in the thyroid gland where it can cause cancer. Average doses to children averaged between 6 and 14 rad, with some as high as 112 rad. Prior to 1997, the government claimed that thyroid doses to children were 15 to 70 times less.

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