TOXIC GAS TESTED ON NORWICH
Daily Mirror 3 Oct 2005
HUNDREDS of lives may be at risk because of secret Cold War chemical trials carried out by the Ministry of Defence.
RAF planes released clouds of zinc cadmium sulphide (ZCSi over Norwich in 1963 and 1964 to assess the effects of a biological attack.
Now local MP Dr Ian Gibson is calling1 for an public Inquiry into the teats by scientists from Porton Down, Wilts.
It has been revealed Norwich has twice as many cases of cancer of the oesophagus - the organ at the back of the throat which tops the food tube to the stomach - as tie national average.
And thanks to data released under the Freedom of Information Act It ia known that ZC8 waa dispersed over a 26-mile route which began in rural Norfolk and continued across Norwich to the coast.
Former cancer researcher Dr Gibson said: "There can be no excuse for using the people of the city as guinea pigs."
Norwich was apparently chosen for the tests because it is flat - making it easier to see how the dust dispersed. ZCS, a fine powder, was used because Its particles are similar in size to germs used in biological warfare and it is visible under ultra violet light.
Dr Gibson added: "It is simply outrageous that this chemical should have been used In this way.
"If the MoD wanted to discover how chemicals were carried on the wind they could have used talcum powder."
Oesophageal cancer is often caused by smoking or heavy drinking but many of the sufferers in Norwich were found to be non-smoker teetotallers. Pamela Dunham, 66. who lives under the flight path, contracted cancer and had her oesophagus removed.
She said: "We all knew something was up at the time, but when anyone asked questions about the cloud of smoke we were told it was harmless and nothing to worry about."
The MoD said: "Approval for these trials was not publicised at the time to avoid public alarm. An Independent review was carried out on all of Porton Down's open-air trials using ZCS.
"This independent study, which was placed in public libraries, concluded that there should not be any adverse effect on public health."