Manhattan Project Spin-Off: St. Louis Minorities Targeted for Secret Cold War Chemical Testing
From the Abstract of the Lisa Martino-Taylor dissertation:
This piece analyzes a covert Manhattan Project spin-off organization referred to here as the Manhattan-Rochester Coalition, and an obscure aerosol study in St. Louis, Missouri, conducted under contract by the U.S. military from 1953-1954, and 1963-1965. The militarysponsored studies targeted a segregated, high-density urban area, where low-income persons of color predominantly resided. Examination of the Manhattan-Rochester Coalition and the St. Louis aerosol studies, reveal their connections to each other, and to a much larger military project that secretly tested humans, both alive and deceased, in an effort to understand the effects of
weaponized radiation. Through this case study, the author explores how a large number of participants inside an organization will willingly participate in organizational acts that are harmful to others, and how large numbers of outsiders, who may or may not be victims of organizational activities, are unable to determine illegal or harmful activity by an organization. The author explains how ethical and observational lapses are engineered by the organization through several specific mechanisms, in an effort to disable critical analysis, and prevent both internal and external dissent of harmful organizational actions. Through studying the process of complex organizational deviance, we can develop public policies that protect the public‟s right to
know, and construct checks and methods to minimize the chance of covert projects that are contrary to societal norms.
Other points made in the dissertation :
“The aerosol was sprayed from blowers installed on rooftops and mounted on vehicles. ”The Army claims that they were spraying a quote ‘harmless’ zinc cadmium sulfide,” says Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor, Professor of Sociology, St. Louis Community College. Yet Martino-Taylor points out, cadmium was a known toxin at the time of the spraying in the mid 50′s and mid 60′s. Worse, she says the aerosol was laced with a fluorescent additive – a suspected radiological compound – produced by U.S. Radium, a company linked to the deaths of workers at a watch factory decades before.
She says the spraying occurred between 1953 and 54 and again from 1963 to 65 in areas of North St. Louis and eventually in parts of South St. Louis. Martino-Taylor launched her research after hearing independent reports of cancers among city residents living in those areas at the time. “At this point, further investigation by government bodies would be welcome. They investigated it in the past and congressional inquiry in the past was not very effective.” She says some of the documents she tried to obtain remain classified, while others she requested had information redacted.