In 1964, Doctor Thomas Mancuso was commissioned by the Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to measure how safe nuclear plants are for the people who work in them.
It was the first study of its kind and was therefore invested with special significance. His initial findings were innocuous. But, eighteen months ago, he and two associates turned up alarming evidence that low levels of radiation, previously thought to be safe, can actually be quite deadly.
Dr. Mancuso’s contract with the government was promptly cancelled and his funds cut off for the research. He was shoved into premature retirement and the government tried to take possession of his study.
Mancuso’s predicament, and his study, are particularly disturbing since he is only one of several scientists the government has tried to squelch for challenging its view of nuclear safety.
In a study of the Hanford facility in Washington, more commonly referred to by residents as “Plutonium City,” a Dr. Milham found an unusually high rate of cancer among the workers at the facility. He was unable to conclusively attribute it to the radiation because he did not have access to the records of the employees’ radiation exposure. Dissatisfied with the Milham research, the AEC turned to the Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories, a Washington research firm the AEC regularly employs. Battelle attributed the unnatural cancer rate to a statistical bias rather than to radiation. The AEC was content with this finding.
The implications of the scientists research extend far beyond the fate of nuclear workers. If they are right, it means that thousands may die from radiation we are receiving. It means that current government standards on radiation are meaningless, that having x-rays or living next to a nuclear plant can be extremely dangerous, and that our government has sponsored a cruel illusion for the past three decades.
The government’s “quiet war on scientists who know too much,” the failure of the mass media to cover this story, and the potential impact of low level radiation on the public, qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories.
Rolling Stone, March 23, 1978, p. 42, “The Government’s Quiet War on Scientists Who Know Too Much: