“In later editing the book A Thousand Days by her friend, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jacqueline Kennedy affirmed that she and the President had “five children in ten years,” which he interpreted to be an understandably defensive view from her perspective, having been pregnant with that many children in that number of years.”
During atmospheric bombing, global fallout concentrated with the capriciousness of wind and rain. In 1953, for example, dangerous levels of radionuclides were measured in the rainwater in Troy, New York. Unknowingly, contaminated dairy farms continued to pool milk and ship it to market. Fallout took on statistical significance.“It was the ‘bump’ in the line– a bump involving roughly 375,000 American babies –that Sternglass attributed to radioactive bomb fallout. Particularly important in that calculation was iodine 131, which could travel through the placenta and irradiate the tiny prenatal thyroid. By destroying cells in that crucial gland in its early stage of development, radiation would cause stunted growth, brain damage, and underdeveloped lungs that could make it impossible for the new baby to survive the first few days of life. Congenital deformities, underweight, hypothyroidism, and a breathing problem called hyaline membrane disease can be considered symptoms of I-131 poisoning because of fallout.” p.213, Killing Our Own, 1982, by Harvey Wasserman and Norman Solomon
But it was not just radioactive iodine. The long-lived calcium mimic strontium-9o, measured after accidents in 1968-69 at the Savannah River weapons plant caused a “peak in infant mortality observed three years after the accidents [and] may have been caused by accumulated strontium-90 in the bones of prospective mothers… Damaged immune systems increase the risks of infection and can make a pregnant woman reject her fetus as a foreign body. As a result, the risks of miscarriage, premature births, low birth-weight babies and infant mortality can increase dramatically.” p51, Deadly Deceit
*In Silent Spring, published in 1963, Rachel Carson wrote “The most alarming of all man’s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and the sea with dangerous and even lethal materials… in this universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of its life. Strontium-90, released through nuclear explosions into the air, comes to earth in rain or drifts down as fallout, lodges in soil, enters into the grass or corn or wheat grown there, and in time takes up its abode in the bones of a human being there to remain until his death.” p97, ibid.