Matheson acts on fallout study
Lawmaker calls for 'roadblocks in way of any new testing'
The more scientists look into the effects of fallout from nuclear weapons tests, the more damage they discover, says Rep. Jim Matheson.
The Utah Democrat was responding to a study by the University of Utah researcher Dr. Joseph Lyon and colleagues, which was reported in Wednesday's edition of the Deseret Morning News. A re-evaluation study by 15 experts headed by Lyon, to be published in the journal Epidemiology on Nov. 1, shows that more than twice as many downwind residents as originally believed suffered damage to the thyroid gland from fallout.
"Dr. Joseph Lyon and his associates have spent 40 years researching danger to those who were 'downwind' of nuclear testing in Nevada," Matheson said in a press release. "The more we look, the more damage we uncover from this era, even as the federal government was telling us it was safe."
Lyon's early studies helped convince Matheson's late father, the former Utah Gov. Scott M. Matheson, that he should demand the release of classified data about the nuclear tests, says the release. "Gov. Matheson died from a radiation exposure-related illness at age 61," it adds.
The congressman is quoted as saying the data prove that even underground nuclear tests are unsafe.
"I have long opposed any effort to resume nuclear weapons testing in Nevada," he added. "My legislation Safety for Americans from Nuclear Weapons Testing establishes significant roadblocks in the way of any new testing."
The legislation requires Congress to authorize any nuclear weapons test and establishes the National Center for the Study of Radiation and Human Health, he said.
The center is a consortium of universities that will study health effects of radiation exposure and illnesses that are linked to radiation.
Lyon's study is called "Thyroid Disease Associated With Exposure to the Nevada Nuclear Weapons Test Site Radiation: A Re-evaluation Based on Corrected Dosimetry and Examination Data."The journal "Epidemiology" placed an abstract online. To read it, go to the scientific journal's main Web site, www.epidem.com/pt/re/epidemiology/paptoc.htm and then click on the box labeled "Epi Fast-Track."
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