Records of Radiation Tests At VA Hospitals Released

THE government reportedly conducted radiation-research experiments in at least 33 United States veterans hospitals after World War II, more than twice the number reported previously.

More than 200 experiments were conducted using substances tagged with radioactive tracers, or radioisotopes, mainly to examine the effects of radiation on the military, according to reports uncovered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Boston Herald reported yesterday. The report does not say whether those involved were told of the nature of the tests or whether they gave their consent.

The report said the objective of the program was to use radioisotopes for medical research, diagnostic studies, and medical-treatment studies.

The tests also aimed to train VA personnel ``to meet the varied and unique problems of atomic energy ... particularly in respect to problems associated with the study and analysis of alleged service-connected disability claims.''

The report was written in 1952. Attached to it is a 1954 report saying 211 studies were being conducted at 33 VA hospitals at the end of 1953. The reports appear to show ``the trigger that started the whole testing program,'' said Rep. Joseph Kennedy II (D) of Massachusetts, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee.

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