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The world’s first atomic bomb test might have exposed unaware civilians in New Mexico to thousands of times the recommended level of public radiation exposure, according to reconstructed data in a new study.
The research, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that ingestion of radioactive materials—primarily from irradiated rainwater and goat’s milk—might have been a substantial contributor to public radiation exposure that was largely not accounted for.
Maralinga is Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal dialect for "Field of Thunder". Aborigines may have been directly affected by the blasts. Compensation is currently being sought in Australian courts.
Originally posted by FredT
Several remote ranchers were either left in place or not evacuated (delibrate or otherwise) and were exposed and tested following the blast to see the effects.
Because of its importance in the war, the Trinity test was conducted in secret. Little was known about the dangers of radiation exposure in the 1940s, so local residents were not warned or evacuated in advance of—or even following—the test. As a result, people in surrounding areas were exposed to radiation by breathing contaminated air, eating contaminated foods, and drinking affected water and milk. Some ranches were located within 15 miles of ground zero, and commercial crops were grown nearby.