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Through dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests, sociologist, Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor uncovered declassified military documents describing the spraying of zinc cadmium sulfide with radioactive particles on a daily basis, for several years during the 1950s and 1960s.

In St Louis, the sprayers were mounted on the rooftops of high rise buildings. In Texas, similar tests were conducted but the toxins were dispersed by military jets from the air and station wagons on the ground.

These tests were conducted on an unwitting public.

The Cold War cover story was that the Army was testing “smokescreens to protect cities from a Russian attack.”

The highest concentration of this compound was sprayed on a low-income Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis Missouri that was home to 10,000 people, of which 70% were estimated to be under the age of 12.

The stated purpose of relentlessly spraying the inhabitants of Pruitt-Igoe with radioactive toxins morning, noon and night was so that the military could study its effects of their lungs.

However, no follow-up study was ever done.

In 1972, after years of crime, poverty and decline, the government demolished the Pruitt-Igoe housing project, which incidentally, was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the same architect as the World Trade Center towers. 

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Alexandra Bruce

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