Threats from the past
at least 11,000 us citizens died from cancer after being exposed to radioactive fallout from nuclear testing done during the Cold War. This was revealed in the report of a recent study conducted by the us Department of Health and Human Services (dhhs). The report further mentions that virtually every person living in the us since 1951 has been exposed to the fallout (www.nytimes.com , February 28, 2002).
"These are useful estimates of the long term effects of global radioactive fallout on the population of the us. But they are only part of the story,' said Dudley Goodhead, a leading radiation specialist with the Medical Research Council in Harwell, the uk .
According to him, dhhs did not take into account fallout from explosions since 1963. Nor did it include fallout from the seven atmospheric explosions detonated by the us prior to 1951 such as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incidents. The estimates do not even include internal radiation exposure caused by the breathing in or swallowing of radioactive particles. As per the estimates of Maryland-based Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, the actual number of fatal cancers could be 17,000.
Scientists are hoping that the study would provoke demands for other countries to come up with similar estimates. "Such assumptions would lead to estimates of thousands of more cancer cases throughout the world because fallout from the atmospheric tests was distributed globally,' said Goodhead.
Between 1951 and 1963, 390 nuclear bombs were exploded above the ground
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