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Navy survivors of atom test have higher death rateOctober 29, 1996
Web posted at: 10:40 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A group of U.S. sailors who participated in nuclear weapons testing have had a higher death rate than those not involved in the tests, the National Academy of Sciences announced Tuesday. But the increased death rate does not appear to be radiation-related, according to the academy's Institute of Medicine.
The study compared a group of servicemen who participated in Operation Crossroads to a group who served in the military at the same time, in similar military units, but did not participate in the nuclear experiments.
Cancer and leukemia rates among those who participated in the tests during World War II were slightly higher among those exposed to radiation, but not enough to be "statistically significant," the report said. Reasons for the higher death rate were unclear.
The first tests were conducted at the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in 1946 and involved about 40,000 U.S. military personnel. The United States carried out 235 above-ground nuclear tests between 1946 and 1963, when the practice was banned by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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