Fallout From Nasty Secrets

How the U.S. used its citizens as guinea pigs

On a spring day in 1950, U.S. scientists perfecting techniques for tracking Soviet atomic tests packed a conventional bomb with radioactive material -- probably lanthanum-140 -- and exploded it in the atmosphere near Los Alamos, New Mexico. No injuries were reported, but the fallout reached populated areas at least 70 miles away.

The Los Alamos test, one of many similar experiments described in a congressional report released last week, is just the latest in a series of disclosures from the early days of the atomic age, when the government often learned about the effects of radiation the quick and dirty way...

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