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ACHRE Report

Final Report

Executive Summary



Part I

Part II

Part III

Discussion: Part III

Part IV


The Committee's work over the past year and a half would have been impossible without the assistance of an extraordinary number of individuals and groups from all corners of the United States, and beyond. We wish to express the depth of our gratitude to the many people who assisted, informed, and advised us.

Some of these people are identified by name elsewhere in this report and its supplemental volumes. An appendix in this volume lists the more than 200 witnesses who appeared before the Committee at our public meetings in Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Knoxville, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Spokane. The supplemental volumes identify the dozens of individuals who agreed to formal, taped interviews in connection with the Committee's oral history projects. We thank all these people and many more:

  • The hundreds of people who contacted the Committee with information about their own experiences or the experiences of their family members. Many of these people shared not only their personal stories but also the information they had collected in the course of conducting their own research into government archives.

  • The representatives of many groups whose interests coincided with the work of the Committee. These include organizations of former subjects of biomedical radiation experiments (and their families), downwinders, atomic veterans, uranium miners, and workers in and around atomic energy communities. These groups, as well, shared the accumulated information and perspective of years of experience and research.

  • The numerous professionals in fields related to our research who gave of their time and expertise to provide information or comment on the myriad factual, technical, and policy questions before the Committee. These experts provided help in understanding areas ranging from military and human rights law to the laws of the atom, from the history of the government's use of secrecy to the history of radiation science.

  • The dozens of universities and independent hospitals, located in all regions of the country, that willingly provided us with the documents we needed to conduct our Research Proposal Review Project.

  • The nearly 1,900 individuals who graciously participated in our Subject Interview Study, and the university hospitals, veterans hospitals, and community hospitals that permitted us to conduct the study.

  • The numerous chairs of institutional review boards and radiation safety committees who were kind enough to share with us their views about the current status of human subject protections.

  • Archivists at public and private libraries, universities, and research institutions, who assisted the Committee in our search for information.

  • The many journalists and scholars who have previously researched and written about the subjects covered in this report, for sharing the knowledge and wisdom embodied in their own many years of inquiry and reflection.

  • A variety of state and local agencies for sharing with the Committee the results of their own reviews of activities that we explored.

  • Members of Congress and congressional staff, including the staffs of the General Accounting Office and the Office of Technology Assessment, for sharing the product of their own prior inquiries into many of the areas discussed in this report.

  • The members of the Human Radiation Interagency Working Group, who provided invaluable assistance. We are particularly grateful to the many employees at the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Central Intelligence Agency, who aided us in the search and retrieval of the many thousands of documents that provide the backbone for the Committee's review of human radiation experiments that took place between 1944 and 1974 and the history of government requirements for the conduct of that research. We are also grateful to the staffs of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Archives and Records Administration for their invaluable assistance. Many of the same people, as well as others, also provided advice and information as we undertook our evaluation of the conduct of research involving human subjects today.

We wish to thank both the professional and administrative members of our staff who worked so hard and showed such dedication to our task. Their talent, energy, and commitment provided the foundation for our work. It is impossible to overstate our gratitude and appreciation for their extraordinary efforts.

Finally, we wish to acknowledge our indebtedness to President Clinton for the honor he bestowed upon us when he selected us to serve on the Advisory Committee.