The legacy of nuclear testing

David Inman writes a weekly column answering questions about old movies and TV shows, which is published in my local newspaper’s TV section. In last week’s column, he wrote about how the movie, “The Conqueror,” starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan, was filmed in Utah in 1957 near a nuclear test site still contaminated with radioactive fallout.  Inman wrote that John Wayne, co-stars Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead and John Hoyt, and director Dick Powell all died of cancer.  He said a 1980 article reported that 91 of the 220 members of the cast and crew had contracted cancer.

I take this with a grain of salt.  I don’t know the source of the information, and, more importantly, I don’t know how many of a random group of 220 adults could be expected to contract cancer over a 23-year period.  Even so, the legacy of radioactive contamination from nuclear testing is real. Whatever the effects on human health, they are not nothing.

Click on Nuclear Explosions 1945-1998 to see the whole sad history in graphic form.  The video is more than five minutes long, but it is worthwhile watching the whole way through.

I thank Jack Clontz, a member of the Bertrand Russell Society who lives in Bangkok, Thailand, for the link.

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