Secret human testing at Pruitt Igoe posed no health risk, Army says

4:03 PM, Nov 2, 2012   |    comments
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Pruitt Igoe housing project

Read Part 1 of Leisa Zigman's investigation.
Read Part 2 of Leisa Zigman's investigation.
Read Part 3 of Leisa Zigman's investigation.
Read Part 4 of Leisa Zigman's investigation.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A top Army official says that an investigation into secret chemical testing in impoverished areas of St. Louis during the Cold War era found no health risk for those who lived in the testing area.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Army sprayed zinc cadmium sulfide into the St. Louis air as part of a biological weapons program. St. Louis was chosen because it bore some resemblance to Russian cities.

Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill wrote to the Army demanding answers in September after learning of research into the testing by a St. Louis professor, Lisa Martino-Taylor.

Assistant Army Secretary Katherine Hammack says in a letter received by Blunt's office Friday that Army investigators reviewed several studies and assessments and found no health risk.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Senator Claire McCaskill released the following statement Friday afternoon: "I'm closely reviewing the Army's response to make sure the Army has been fully transparent and that the scope and quality of their review of this matter was exhaustive. This entire matter of the Army testing chemicals on an unsuspecting community remains disturbing."

Senator Roy Blunt offered these comments: "Senator Blunt still has concerns that this testing was conducted on unsuspecting Missourians. Regardless of the effect, Senator Blunt believes it's disgraceful to test anything on anyone without their knowledge."

Lisa Martino Taylor, whose research led to the senators' query, had this to say:

"The focus of my research was on the lack of consent, secrecy, deception, organizational structure, and possible connection to a broader radiological program. The Army's letter seems to be relatively silent on those issues.

"Whether or not this satisfies the senators' concern and curiosity I cannot say, but I do know that it does not mine, and I believe that there are many aspects of this which merit further study.

"Given the level of secrecy, the original deception, and lack of public input and consent, it would be helpful for further government inquiry to include public hearings and statements from those with concerns and recollections from the open-air study."

Associated Press

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