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CDC Kills Fallout Study


The federal government has yanked funding for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study into the possible connection of thyroid diseases with radioactive fallout that hit Utah and Nevada decades ago. The study, based on medical examinations of school children who had grown up downwind from the nuclear tests taking place at the Nevada Test Site, had been progressing for seven years, at a cost of just over $8 million. The study was intended to reassess former medical reports concluding that the children were over three times more likely to have thyroid tumors than unexposed children. The CDC has insisted to news agencies that the cancellation is nothing more than "a funding issue."

One of the examined students, Idaho resident Jay Truman, who is also the head of the fallout-victim advocacy organization Downwinders, says the new hurdle came totally without warning. "A lot of the kids in my class were just starting to get letters saying, 'We'd like to check you up again,' and 'We need to set up appointments,'" Truman told BW, "and then the next thing we know, it's over." Now, he says, nuclear downwinders have no choice but to "scream our heads off until funding gets restored and the study gets finished."

As if on cue, a group of French scientists admitted to the New Scientist magazine in late March that their own previous studies of fallout victims in the nuclear testing ground of Polynesia had come to some erroneous conclusions. Namely, they have concluded that three times as many Polynesians who lived near the 41 nuclear tests staged by France from 1966 to 1974 suffered chromosomal damage as was previously reported. The French scientists had previously been hesitant to attribute increased thyroid cancer rates to fallout; now they're admitting there is likely a link.