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Tortured Science: Health Studies, Ethics and Nuclear Weapons in the United States
Edited by Dianne Quigley, Amy Lowman, and Steve Wing
Critical Approaches in the Health Social Sciences Series, Ray H. Elling, Series Editor

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"Community members that live downwind and downstream of Department of Energy weapons-production sites know firsthand that contamination doesn’t stop at the fence line. They have been subjected to health studies that protect the agency and the federal government from a moral responsibility to fully disclose the entire environmental and health legacy of nuclear weapons production. Tortured Science raises important ethical issues about how health studies have gone awry and how citizens who served the United States during the Cold War have been abandoned by their government as acceptable collateral damage."
—Susan Gordon, Director, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability

"Before torturing suspects to extract data became the norm today, torturing science to hide data was standard operating procedure in the nuclear age. Tortured Science sheds light on key narratives of obstruction and deceit that have kept the dangers of ionizing radiation from public view. Dedicated to the late radiation-research pioneer Dr. Alice Stewart, this book honors her life’s work by documenting a wide array of health effects resulting from the mass production of nuclear weapons in the United States. In a post-Fukushima world, knowing the difference between convoluted half-truths and elusive hard truths can make all the difference in the world."
—Robert Del Tredici, Photographer/author, The People of Three Mile Island and At Work in the Fields of the Bomb

"We need to be constantly reminded about the ‘public’ in public health. Public health science without the ‘public; is not just bad science, it is ethically flawed. Put more simply, it is wrong. This book is simultaneously inspiring and dismaying, showing in detail what technically and ethically flawed public health science looks like. No practitioners or students of public health should be allowed to avert their eyes. Tortured Science is food for thought and a goad to action, by some of the most important figures in the movement to truly include ‘public’ in public health."
—David Ozonoff, MD, MPH, Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health

"The cost of great power is measured more than in dollars. Tortured Science: Health Studies, Ethics, and Nuclear Weapons in the United States discusses the hazards that many workers have faced working with nuclear weapons in recent history. Many ethicist come together to discuss this concern, and the concerns surrounding denial, suppression, and other actions used to keep outcries against these dangers under the radar. Calling for reform within the military industrial complex and within scientific research, Tortured Science brings another very strong concern about nuclear war and power, highly recommended."
—James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, Library Bookwatch: January 2012

The U.S.A.’s nuclear weapons program has exposed workers and the public to health hazards since World War II. In the 1980s and 1990s, federal health agencies responded to new revelations about these hazards by pouring millions of dollars into research on the health impacts of radiation. In Tortured Science: Health Studies, Ethics and Nuclear Weapons in the United States, community health activists and researchers reflect on the research program for addressing the health effects of nuclear weapons production at Hanford, WA, Rocky Flats, CO, Livermore Labs, CA, and Fernald, OH. The authors describe conflicts of interest, data suppression, technical inadequacies, and other examples of how researchers failed in their social responsibility to the affected human populations. The research program’s health studies did not lead to any meaningful follow-up on the major health concerns of community members, nor have they helped communities seek reparations for high radiation exposures that may have contributed to thyroid, bone, lung and other diseases. In Tortured Science, several ethicists review these health research problems. Research ethics as a discipline seeks to protect individuals and groups, obtain approval from affected communities, mitigate potential research harms, and guard against vigilance, scientific contrivance, denial, and suppression of findings. Such protections were not adequately provided in the research program on the health effects of nuclear weapons production, as critiqued in the ethical reviews. This book compels us to develop a new ethical framework for scientific research on military-industrial and other sources of contamination.

Intended Audience: Public health professionals; graduates/undergraduates in public health, community health, environmental studies, epidemiology, medical anthropology, public sociology, ethics/religious studies, and science policy; government health researchers at federal health agencies, centers for ethics and bioethics (private/academic), and community health organizations; community-based researchers and environmental organizations; nuclear weapons and peace organizations.

Dianne Quigley, Ph.D., is an adjunct assistant professor of research at Brown University’s Center for Environmental Studies and lecturer at UMass-Dartmouth. She received a 2010 National Science Foundation grant for Ethics Education in Science and Engineering and is an ethics consultant on several other federal grants. She was previously the principal investigator of National Institutes of Health grants "The Collaborative Initiative for Research Ethics in Environmental Health" (2000–2007) and "Nuclear Risk Management to Native Communities" (1994–2000). Dr. Quigley was executive director of the Childhood Cancer Research Institute (1987–2000). She earned her Ph.D. in religious studies from Syracuse University in 2009.

Amy Lowman, M.P.H., is a project manager and research associate at the University of North Carolina, School of Public Health. She has several years of experience working with community-based organizations on environmental health and environmental injustice.

Steve Wing received his Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, where he has been on the faculty since 1985. His teaching and research focus on occupational and environmental health. He has conducted studies of radiation-exposed workers at U.S. Department of Energy nuclear weapons facilities in Oak Ridge, Hanford, Los Alamos, and Savannah River, and has worked with several community-based organizations near nuclear weapons sites. Dr. Wing has conducted several studies of environmental injustice and environmental health research ethics, and he is a founding member of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network.

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Tortured Science: Health Studies, Ethics and Nuclear Weapons in the United States

Editor: Dianne Quigley, Amy Lowman, and Steve Wing
Paper ISBN:
Cloth ISBN:
Page Count: 282
Copyright: 2012

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