Contaminated milk: A paradigm

This innocent looking journal article is actually one of the most important publications in the literature of weapons testing fallout studies.  The 1976 Chinese atmospheric test took place long after US and Russian weapons testing had been ended by the Test Ban Treaty of 1965.  Two important observations can be made about the legacy of the fallout from cold war weapon's testing.  Passing plume pulses from stratospheric or tropospheric fallout, which result in hazardous contamination of the food chain, are not brought to the immediate attention of consumers at risk by the government authorities monitoring the situation.  In many cases, including that noted below by Simpson, et. al., the data indicating the hazard is not available until months after the plume passage and when published it is usually in obscure journals that are not read by the general public.  The second lesson of this important article is the question raised by a single admittedly large and dirty Chinese atmospheric test: what was the projected dose commitment over a period of years from the combined fallout of hundreds of US and Russian weapons tests, which contaminated food supplies, not only in the United States but throughout the world?

Simpson, R.E., Shuman, F.G.D., Baratta, E.J. and Tanner, J.T. (1981). Projected dose commitment from fallout contamination in milk resulting from the 1976 Chinese atmospheric nuclear weapons test. Health Physics. 40. pg. 741-744.

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For more information on 131I and milk see:
NCI's 1997, Estimated exposures and thyroid doses received by the American people from Iodine-131 in fallout following Nevada atmospheric nuclear bomb tests.
WHO's 1986 post-Chernobyl national safety guidelines for 131I in milk
RAD8:2 Anthropogenic radioactivity: Baseline data: Summary of atmospheric nuclear explosions
RAD9:1 Anthropogenic radionuclides: Dietary intake: US radiation data
RAD9:3 Anthropogenic radionuclides: Dietary intake: Body burdens

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