Project Sunshine: The Global Child Tissue and Bone Harvesting Conspiracy That’s Really True

In 1955, the US Atomic Energy Commission came up with a plan to harvest human tissue and bones, particularly children’s, in order to conduct ethically dubious experiments that would not be fully and publicly known until 40 years later.

There was nothing America loved more in the 1950s and 60s than dropping big nuclear bombs and watching them flourish. From a plan to nuke Alaska (which technically hasn’t been taken off the table yet) to actual nukes in space, America hasn’t hesitated to look at some landscape and think “I know, I’ll put a mushroom cloud there” .

But in those early days of nuclear weapons, we still didn’t really know the effects these nuclear tests had on the human body. We had estimates of how much radioactive strontium produced by the tests would kill a person, but the exact effects of the fallout on humans and human tissue were basically unknown and unstudied, and what we knew about the levels of strontium-90 worried scientists that the season. And yet, the world continued to test weapons.

In this environment, scientists at the Sunshine conference (which looked at the long-term impact of atomic weapons) argued in favor of sampling strontium fallout in humans, to determine whether there were potentially harmful levels in different populations.

Since the idea was first floated at the “sunshine” conference, the project to do this – when adopted by the Atomic Energy Commission – became known as Project Sunshine, which is an optimistic name considering all the flesh and bone harvesting. which included.

In 1955, there was a meeting of the Atomic Energy Commission, which concluded some of the details of the test and urged the researchers to use their own contacts to discreetly take tissue and bone samples without revealing the nature of the research. was conducted, nor to obtain the (pre-death of course) permission of the deceased.

“I don’t know how to get them,” said Dr. Willard Libby, who was on the committee and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, in the minutes of that meeting, which were only made public in 1995. “But I say it is a matter of prime importance to get them and especially in the young age group. So human specimens are of prime importance, and if someone knows how to do a good job of body grabbing, they will really serve their country.”

More than 1,500 samples from around the world—many of them from baby corpses—were collected by the body shield team, which some researchers argue were necessary to measure natural levels of radium in the population. In one particularly grim example, a dead baby’s legs were removed by researchers in the UK, and the mother said she could not dress the baby for the funeral, to hide the fact that her legs had been removed for the project.

“I asked if I could put the baptismal robe on her, but they wouldn’t let me and that upset me terribly because they didn’t baptize her,” the mother said in a 1995 documentary. “Nobody asked me to do things like that, taking pieces of her”.

When the truth came out years later, many people were shocked by the way the samples were collected. The work itself, meanwhile, found that strontium 90 was not, in fact, great for humans.

“The retentive and radioactive properties of Sr90 It endows it with high carcinogenic potential,” the project found. “A given amount above a threshold (which may be zero) fixed in bone will cause a certain average percentage of the population to die from bone cancer comparable to that seen in victims of radium poisoning”.

“Young and developing tissue is more susceptible to damage from radiation.”

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