After detonation of a nuclear device in the Marshall Islands during the spring of 1954, radioactive material fell upon several neighboring inhabited atolls.1 The fallout material consisted of pulverized and incinerated coral (calcium oxide) coated with radioactive fission products, forced high into the atmosphere by the violence of the explosion. The particulate matter was then distributed over a wide area by the wind structure. The field of radiation resulting from the deposition of this radioactive material on the islands was sufficiently intense to result in significant whole-body irradiation of the inhabitants. In addition, the skin was contaminated with the material, and some of it was inhaled and ingested. The calculated whole-body dose of radiation in roentgens as measured in air and the amount of fall-out observed for each of the island groups is shown below. The exposed American servicemen were returned to duty after extensive medical examinations at Kwajalein
Cronkite EP, Bond VP, Conard RA, et al. RESPONSE OF HUMAN BEINGS ACCIDENTALLY EXPOSED TO SIGNIFICANT FALL-OUT RADIATION. JAMA. 1955;159(5):430–434. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960220020007
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