July 14, 1962

The Great Fallout Controversy

Author Affiliations

6221 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

JAMA. 1962;181(2):171-172. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050280101017

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To the Editor:—  I am afraid that the editorial on "The Great Fallout Controversy" (JAMA179:66 [Jan. 6] 1962), tends to give me a false sense of security. One is primarily concerned in radioactive fallout with strontium-90, which has a half-life of 28 years, and is found in cow's milk. Although the present levels of strontium-90 in our atmosphere are not high enough to produce any deleterious effects, one is not certain what these effects will be over the ensuing years.According to a pamphlet published by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, October, 1961, "Very little is known about the effect on animals or humans of very low, but prolonged exposures, such as fallout from distant nuclear tests." No long-term experiments have been done to date.Dr. Louis Reiss, in Science, Nov. 24, 1961, analyzed the strontium-90 content of shed baby teeth from 1951 to 1954.

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