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August 4, 1993

No Breathing Room: The Aftermath of Chernobyl

Author Affiliations

Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1993;270(5):647-649. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510050113045

American Ground Zero: The Secret Nuclear War  , by Carole Gallagher, 425 pp, with illus, $50, ISBN 0-262-07146-0, Cambridge, Mass, MIT Press, 1993. It is now seven years since the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in north central Ukraine. In the past year reports to the journal Nature have confirmed an increase in thyroid cancer in Belarus, where 70% of the Chernobyl fallout was deposited. Studies sponsored by the World Health Organization have begun to track the cleanup workers, who were exposed to some of the highest radiation doses. Documentation of adverse health effects in these and other exposed populations will require decades of careful follow-up.Civilian nuclear power has been far safer in the United States, but nuclear weapons production and testing have extensively contaminated soil and groundwater, particularly in the states of Nevada, Utah, Washington, Colorado, South Carolina, and Ohio. Two new books examine how government secrecy