Health concerns persist 70 years after the first atomic bomb detonated
July 15, 2015
A group called the Tularosa Basin Downwinders says the nuclear fallout is to blame for high cancer rates in their town
The first victims of the atomic bomb may have been Americans. Nearly 70 years ago, the US detonated the first atomic bomb in southern New Mexico at what's now known as the Trinity Site. From 1945 to 1962, the US conducted nearly 200 atmospheric nuclear weapons development tests. In 1990, Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which mainly compensates government workers who become ill after being exposed to radiation from nuclear testing. The government has paid out $2 billion to date. Residents near the Trinity test site — including those in Tularosa — aren't eligible for benefits. The National Cancer Institute has begun to study the cancer claims. New Mexico Senator Tom Udall proposed an amendment to the 1990 Act which would include Tularosa residents. The bill has stalled in Congress for several years.