secrecy {fragments}

~ musings on secrecy ~

St. Louis

While skimming news at RawStory, I ran across Lisa Martino-Taylor’s research into possible radioactive spraying of low income neighborhoods in St. Louis during the 1950s by the U.S. Army. Before the days of environmental justice, the U.S. Chemical Corps, responsible for CBR or chemical, biological, and radiological warfare during the 1950s-1970s, was most likely the culprit in the zinc cadmium sulphide spraying.

While Leonard Cole’s** (1988) classic Clouds of secrecy and Andrew Goliszek’s (2003) In the name of science: A history of secret programs, medical research, and human experimentation discuss the travesty of Cold War airborne testing with specific details on the St. Louis and Minneapolis “studies,” zinc cadmium sulphide mixed with radionuclides isn’t discussed. The Chemical Corps’ own doc from 1952-1953, Behavior of aerosol clouds within cities (declassified @ DTIC), doesn’t mention what chemical cocktails were sprayed in St. Louis and Minneapolis. Similarly, The summary of major events and problems  and The summary history of Chemical Corps activities that I obtained under FOIA a few years back, don’t contain much helpful historical info on spraying of  these U.S. cities. The multivolume Department of Defense Report on search for human radiation experiment records, 1944 – 1994 also does not shed any light on the St.Louis spraying.

As I couldn’t locate the records that Dr. Martino-Taylor received under the Freedom of Information Act, it is my hope that researchers will have access to them to rebuild the historical record on experimentation during the Cold War.  We need fresh insights regarding the decisionmaking process during the Cold War and with it, new understandings of those decisions that put the safety of U.S citizens and the ecosystem in peril.


**See Dr. Cole’s (1994) Testimony before the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, United States Senate, Open air testing with simulated biological and chemical warfare agents and his The eleventh plague: The politics of biological and chemical warfare (1997).


Written by S.

October 5, 2012 at 4:53 am