News Release

Exposed: Secret Cold War Inhalation Experiments on Poor, Minority Communities in St. Louis; Possible Radiological Testing


Lisa Martino-Taylor is a sociology professor at St. Louis Community College in St. Louis, Missouri. KDSK-TV, St. Louis’ NBC affiliate, has just aired a series of reports on revelations she has made public, noting her “life’s work has been to uncover details of the Army’s ultra-secret military experiments carried out in St. Louis and other cities during the 1950s and 60s.”

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports Martino-Taylor obtained documents from multiple federal agencies showing that “St. Louis was among several cities where the aerosol testing took place in the 1950s and 1960s with zinc cadmium sulfide, a chemical powder mixed with fluorescent particles so that dispersal patterns could be traced. … Relying heavily on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Martino-Taylor identifies connections between participants in the St. Louis testing and scientists who took part in wartime efforts to build the atomic bomb.”

KDSK reports it has “independently verified that the spraying of zinc cadmium sulfide did take place in St. Louis on thousands of unsuspecting citizens. … Documents confirmed that city officials were kept in the dark about the tests. The Cold War cover story was that the Army was testing smoke screens to protect cities from a Russian attack. … While the Army admits it added a florescent substance to the zinc cadmium compound, details of whether it was radioactive remain secret.”

KDSK cited Martino-Taylor about the spraying: “the greatest concentration was centered on the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex, just south of downtown St. Louis. It was home to 10,000 low income people. An estimated 70 percent she says were children under the age of 12.”

“This was a violation of all medical ethics, all international codes, and the military’s own policy at that time,” said Martino-Taylor.

Available for a limited number of interviews, Alvarez is a former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. He said today: “Dr. Martino-Taylor has reopened a dark chapter of recent history in which the most vulnerable people were put in harms way without their knowledge. Along with radiation experiments for the nuclear weapons program the callous lack of medical ethics is a tragic hallmark of the Cold War era.”

Background, see Martino-Taylor’s academic paper: “The Manhattan-Rochester Coalition, research on the health effects of radioactive materials, and tests on vulnerable populations without consent in St. Louis, 1945–1970”

Also see followup video report by KDSK.