What They Learned about Radiation After the Bomb

Within six weeks after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, three US and two Japanese teams studied the impact of radiation. The Japanese wanted to know the medical effects on survivors. The American’s wanted to know how and why people died from the blast. The Americans gathered information for a few months and left. Later, President Harry Truman approved a broader research effort. What they learned about radiation after the atom bomb blasts and what we continue to learn affects all of us today. The ABCC and the RERF The National Research Council formed and funded The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) to study the medical and biological effects of radiation after the A-bomb. They hoped to produce useful data for peacetime uses of atomic energy. By 1950 the ABCC employed 143 allied and 920 Japanese personnel in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Unfortunately, the ABCC did not help the Japanese they studied. Signs and magazines were in English. Linoleum floors caused pregnant Japanese women wearing traditional wooden clogs to slip and fall. They didn’t offer or give medical treatments. And they offered little or no compensation for lost work to their study participant. Over time, the hibakusha (atom bomb survivors) lost […]