In a 2-day workshop meeting on January 22-23, 1962, the Academy's newly-formed Committee on Environmental Hazards considered the problems posed for pediatricians by fall-out of radioactive materials on this country. This report has been kept brief that it might promptly be placed before the members of the Academy for their information and guidance. The excerpts from letters that have come to the Committee show the type of questions that parents are bringing to physicians. The statement of the Committee attempts to provide some guiding principles in the light of present conditions.
The Committee has carefully reviewed the organization of facilities within the U.S. Public Health Service, the Atomic Energy Commission, and other established agencies for monitoring fall-out in this country. It has also reviewed data on the duration, the amounts, and the hazards of radioactive iodine-131 and strontium-90 in fall-out, data and reports of new processes for removal of radioactive strontium (Sr90) from milk, as well as reports on long-term studies of Japanese survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and people of the Marshall Islands who were exposed to fall-out from nuclear weapons testing.
Within the United States there are two agencies specifically charged with the chief responsibility for analysis of the atmosphere, water, soil, and foodstuffs for radioactivity from fall-out. These are the U.S. Public Health Service and the Atomic Energy Commission. The surveillance maintained by the U.S.P.H.S. in co-operation with state and local governments includes a nationwide "early warning" network of about 60 stations that monitor air pollution, 60 stations monitoring radioactivity in milk, and a network of more than 300 stations for monitoring general air and water pollution.
- Copyright © 1962 by the American Academy of Pediatrics