During the summer of 1957, the United States carried out 29 nuclear tests in Nevada as part of Operation Plumbbob. The radioactive debris went into the air and groundwater which then entered local communities.
“Downwinders” are the name given to millions of US citizens who lived unwittingly in places where nuclear fallout would begin to kill them.
The extent of the health catastrophe is still being realized years later as thousands have suffered from cancer and many died. The states most affected were Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Montana. For those who were exposed, the most common health problem is thyroid cancer and related diseases.
They also had live infantry soldiers march through the test sites before the primary radiation had a chance to disperse. About 18,000 soldiers were deployed into the hot zones immediately after nuclear weapons were detonated. The exposed personnel had developed double the lifetime risk of leukemia and other cancers.
Footage of soldiers being exposed to high levels of radiation
The maker of the Nuclear bomb opens up in an interview.