Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Thing #139-- Remember the Cold War?

There was an article in the POST DISPATCH yesterday that really jogged my memory.

When I was in elementary school, I put one of my baby teeth in an envelope and sent it away. At the time, I didn't know why, but later I discovered that the teeth were part of a project to find out if children were absorbing radioactive fallout from nuclear bomb tests. It was called the St. Louis Baby Tooth Survey. St. Louis was part of a "milk pathway" where fallout from nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s contaminated pastures. The milk along the pathway had higher radiation than normal; anyone who drank the milk ingested the radiation.

Fast forward to this decade. In 2001 thousands of baby teeth were found at a Washington University research site. The teeth are going to be used in a study to learn whether fallout from atomic bomb tests increases cancer risks for Americans born during those Cold War years. Today I registered with the Radiation and Public Health Study to participate in their tooth study.

Even though I don't have any major health problems, I thought it was important to add my name to their list in case I can help them. They only have a quarter of the total teeth collected, and for the first year of the study they are only going to use male donors, so chances of me actually participating in the study are slim.

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