A cover-up over fallout?

  A cover-up over fallout?

The federally funded National Cancer Institute has been sitting on some disturbing news: 10,000 to 72,000 people may develop thyroid cancer from exposure to clouds of radioactive fallout that traveled across the United States between 1951 and 1958.

An institute study shows that children living thousands of miles from nuclear bomb tests in Nevada may have been exposed to dangerously high levels of radiation. Fallout "hot spots' include central Idaho, eastern Montana, parts of Utah and Colorado, the Dakotas, the Midwest and the East Coast - especially upstate New York. People who were under 5 at the time of exposure are at the highest risk, the study says.

The National Cancer Institute completed its study in 1992, but only made its findings public recently. All 100,000 pages of data won't be available to the public until Oct. 1.

Institute officials have not explained why they waited five years to release the study. The delay, Tim Connor of the federal Centers for Disease Control told the Spokesman-Review on July 24, is a "major public health scandal." Spokeswoman Nancy Nelson says the study's authors "are having problems deciding how to make this study public."

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., has been trying for months to get the study released. He told the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., that the delay is "either a remarkable demonstration of ineptitude or extraordinarily contrived efforts to withhold information."

*Karen Dorn Steele
High Country News Classifieds