My family lived in Guam from 1959-1961. A time that I remember fondly may have been the worst thing that could have happened to me and my family. Studies have proven that Guam had significant radioactive fallout from the years 1945 to 1974, although they have not been included in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990. Three Democratic Senators have taken action to amend this oversight.
A trio of democrat senators are calling on Congress to pass a bill that would allow Guam residents equal compensation for exposure to nuclear fallout.
H.R. 149 and S. 791 amends the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 to expand the list of eligible downwind areas to include Guam for the nuclear weapons testing conducted by the United States government that occurred in the Marshall Islands from 1945 through 1962, and to allow equal compensation for all claimants of $150,000 each regardless of exposure.
Sens. Ben Pangelinan, D-Barrigada, and Tina-Rose Muña Barnes, D-Mangilao, and Speaker Judith Won Pat, D-Inarajan, sponsored Resolution 171-31. The resolution petitions the United States Congress to pass H.R. 149, introduced by Congressman Ben Lujan, D-New Mexico, and S. 791, introduced by Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico.
“As a long time advocate to recognize and include Guam as a down winder, I applaud the New Mexico representatives in their effort to support our cause,” Pangelinan stated.
“The passage of this amendment will greatly benefit the people of Guam that have suffered from leukemia and other forms of cancers attributed to nuclear fallout. We are finally making progress on our efforts for justice.”
This morning, during session, Pangelinan urged his colleagues to support Resolution 171-31. The resolution is now in the voting file.
This is a letter I wrote to Sen. Udall
I just read about your introduction of H.R. 149 and S. 791 which amends the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 to expand the list of eligible downwind areas to include Guam for the nuclear weapons testing conducted by the United States government that occurred in the Marshall Islands from 1945 through 1962, and to allow equal compensation for all claimants of $150,000 each regardless of exposure.
My father was stationed in Guam from 1959-1961. My baby brother was one month, my other brother 2 years, my sister 5 and I was 3 years old. Every one of us in my family has been stricken down with multiple health problems but mainly degenerative disk disease, we all lost our teeth young, we have all lived in constant pain since before the age of forty. This is also true of my mother. I have wondered, why us? Why my family? My brother also had tumors in his testicles and had to have one removed, I had adenomyosis and had a hysterectomy. We have had many problems starting young and all of us have spent at least a decade in tremendous pain with our lives being effectively cut short by the age of forty.
We lived in Guam during one of the heaviest fallout periods, and I believe this exposure in our young bodies has contributed to the pain and suffering of my whole family. We were exposed to some of the heaviest fallout in the world anywhere because my father was in the service. We ate the produce, drank the water, even our milk was reconstituted with local water. My mom bought local eggs. I believe that this harmed my whole family.
I applaud your efforts to seek compensation for people living in Guam. Since my sister and brother both go to the VA, I am going to try to have them talk to their doctors about our time in Guam and our exposure, because I have become convinced this is the cause of our painful lives. If you know of any research being done for children that lived on Guam during this time could you let me know?
Thank you for your efforts, because I truly believe that Guamanians and military families have been harmed by the atomic testing in the area.
A Blue Ribbon Panel presented the following conclusions (this is greatly abbreviated, long paper):
The number of people affected in this case encompasses all the inhabitance of Guam, military and civilian residence present from 1946-1974.
The U.S. Navy preformed radio ecological studies on the surface water in and
around Guam and found a major peak of radioactive contamination in 1959.
The evidence in this action report consists of corresponding data from various people, groups and organizations both private and government related. This preliminary research paper will show the direct responsibility of the Federal Government to the local military and civilian population of Guam. The actions taken by the (AEC) Atomic Energy Commission, the United States Navy and Air Force put the population of Guam in harms way knowingly and with total disregard for there well being.
The post World War II governments of the world gave various islands in this region over as a protectorate so that they could develop in to healthy societies after the damage done by WWII. What was perpetrated against this region was the largest ecological disaster in human history. This disaster was no less than the detonation of over 108,000 kilotons of nuclear explosive directly up jet stream of Guam. The amount of contamination was 42 times the approximately 150 million curies released as a result of testing in the United States of America. The AEC ejected between 6.3 billion and 17 billion curies of radioactive contamination over a twelve year period, this inundated the region and other surrounding regions with various radioactive isotopes such as Cerium-140, Iodine-131, Xenon-131, Strontium-90, Yittrium-90, Cesium-137, Barium-137, Potassium-40, Cesium-40, Argon-40, Magnesium-24, Hydrogen-3, and
Operation Date Yield
MIKE 10/31/52 10400
BRAVO 2/28/54 15000
ROMEO 3/26/54 11000
UNION 4/25/54 6900
YANKEE 5/4/54 13500
CHEROKEE 5/20/56 3800
NAVAJO 7/10/56 4500
TEWA 7/20/56 5000
OAK 6/28/58 8900
POPLAR 7/12/58 9300
These detonations are the ten worst nuclear bombs that the AEC ever
tested in any of its nuclear test operations. They all have the needed explosive
energy of 1 megaton to eject debris in to the upper atmosphere (12 to 55 miles
high) and enter the jet stream. The six-year period from November 2 1952 to
July 16 1958 would be the peek years that the radioactive fallout came to Guam.
The dates are delayed by four days to account for the time it would take the
radioactive cloud to reach Guam as is explained in reference to the
Report later in this paper. Any children born between these years should be
examined in detail. What is expected in this sample of the population is an
increase of cancers and other cellular diseases that are associated with radioactive fallout.
The rain that Guam received in the years between 1946-1958 would have
traveled down in to every level of food and water supply in significant amounts.
For example taking a look at the detonation of the Ivy-Mike; this device had a
yield of 10400 kilotons. As mentioned earlier in this paper in the testimony of
Charles Schreiber, we know that the fallout on Guam corresponds with the date
of that detonation. This radioactively contaminated water then entered the local
populations drinking system via the local practice of catching water in containers
for consumption purposes. Due to the remote geographical location there was a
great deal of agriculture being practiced to support the local population. This too
would have been heavily contaminated even with practiced sanitation through
washing of all grown products. All un-distilled water on Guam comes from local
precipitation this being the case the population that lived on Guam from 1946 to
at least 1975 were contaminated through actions taken by the United States
Government Department of Energy. (Fallout Program Quarterly Summary
Report, Appendix, U. S. Energy Research and Development Administration,
Health and Safety Lab Report 1975)
Although cancer has been directly linked to radioactive fallout so have other effects such as benign tumors (my brother has had many, bone disease, thyroid disease and tumors (my father), auto immune disease (my whole family.) We may or may not be entitled to compensation under this act, but for me the important thing is the recognition that Guam suffered massive environmental and health damage from these tests. Our government must make amends and take responsibility for the actions and damage resulting from their misguided nuclear program that set off massive explosions in the Pacific during these years.