in the early 1990s, people in cities and towns where the tests had occurred began to ask whether a variety of health problems that they or others had experienced—including cancer and infertility—were related to exposures to zinc cadmium sulfide.
In response to those concerns, Congress asked the National Research Council to determine independently whether exposures to zinc cadmium sulfide from the Army's tests had caused any adverse health effects. The National Research Council, a non-government and nonpartisan organization that examines issues of science and technology, formed a subcommittee of the Committee on Toxicology in the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology to conduct the study. The subcommittee consisted of 15 people from universities, laboratories, private consultants, consumer groups, risk communicators, public-health agencies, and nongovernment organizations. Members of the subcommittee were chosen for distinguished expertise in toxicology, medicine, epidemiology, chemistry, environmental health, risk assessment, and risk communication. They served without compensation as a public service.
The subcommittee has prepared this short summary report and a detailed technical report entitled Toxicologic Assessment of the Army's Zinc Cadmium Sulfide Dispersion Tests, which evaluates whether exposure to zinc cadmium sulfide caused adverse health effects in exposed people.
This summary report was prepared to give information to concerned citizens about zinc cadmium sulfide, especially about the human health effects that might result from exposure to it. It supplements the technical document and provides answers to commonly asked questions. It consists of three parts:
A background section about why the zinc cadmium sulfide tests were conducted, information on the zinc cadmium sulfide releases, and a description of the events that led up to the study of the health effects of zinc cadmium sulfide in exposed persons.