Vindication For Linus Pauling
Reprint from Life Extension Magazine®, May 2002
A new government study says that radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing has caused at least 15,000 cancer deaths in the United States. This report was prepared as a joint effort by the National Cancer Institute and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here is a chilling revelation from this report:
“Any person living in the contiguous United States since 1951 has been exposed to radioactive fallout, and all organs and tissues of the body have received some radiation exposure.”
For those who don’t know, more than 2,000 nuclear tests have been conducted worldwide since the first nuclear bomb was built. The latest government report considered only above-ground tests that took place between 1951 and 1962. This study uncovered intense radioactive “hot spots” in the continental United States all the way from California and Washington to Vermont, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.1
This report of 15,000 cancer deaths, however, is but preliminary. The full study is still being withheld from the public. Critics are accusing the Federal government of slowing the release of this information to minimize the consequences.
For decades, the Federal government contended that radioactive fallout from nuclear testing was harmless. Government propaganda films in the 1950s even showed American children playing in fresh radioactive ash to demonstrate that it was as “safe as snow.”1
Now that the lethal consequences of the government’s deceit are being exposed, we commemorate the scientist who risked imprisonment for organizing protests that eventually caused the United States and [the former] Soviet Union to ban above-ground nuclear testing.
Linus Pauling: The Scientist
Linus Pauling is the only person to ever win two undivided Nobel Prizes. The New Scientist magazine ranked Dr. Pauling as one of the twenty greatest scientists to ever live, an honor shared with such figures as Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, and Isaac Newton.
Dr. Pauling’s research focused primarily on physical chemistry. In 1939 he published The Nature of the Chemical Bond and the Structure of Molecules and Crystals and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954.
During World War II, Pauling participated in scientific enterprises deemed vital to the protection of the country. Early in the war he was a consultant to the National Defense Research Commission and later became a member of the Research Board for National Security. For his contributions, which included work on rocket propellants, on an oxygen deficiency indicator for pressurized space, such as that in submarines and aircraft, and on a substitute for human serum in medical treatment, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit in 1948.
Pauling’s interest in the “behavior” of molecules led him from physical chemistry to biological chemistry. Dr. Pauling’s research into amino acids resulted in the development of the first substitute for blood plasma.
In 1950, Dr. Pauling constructed the first satisfactory model of a protein molecule, a discovery that has implications for the understanding of the living cell. He studied and published papers on subjects as diverse as the effects of blood cell abnormalities, the relationship between molecular abnormality and heredity, the possible chemical basis of mental retardation, the functioning of anesthetics, the relationship of vitamin C deficiency to heart disease, etc.
Many of today’s scientific and medical breakthroughs emanate from Linus Pauling’s pioneering research in the fields of both physical and biological chemistry.
How Linus Pauling Got into Trouble
Linus Pauling knew that radioactive fallout–generated free radicals would cause cancer and other diseases in humans. Pauling joined with Albert Einstein and five others to form the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists. Their mission was to inform the public about the dangerous consequences that nuclear weapons and nuclear testing held for civilization.
In 1957, Pauling wrote a scientific appeal petition calling for a nuclear test ban treaty and distributed it throughout the scientific community. He soon gathered over 9,000 signatures from 49 countries, including 2,000 American scientists. In 1958, Pauling presented the petition to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, announcing that it represented the general consensus of the world’s scientists and their plea for a ban on future nuclear testing.
Pauling gave hundreds of lectures against nuclear weapons testing and war. Unfortunately, he toured during a time of heightened Cold War suspicions and was marked a Communist supporter. The Federal government refused to give Pauling a passport, thus denying him the opportunity to attend international scientific conventions. Pauling was twice subpoenaed to appear before congressional committees investigating anti-American activities to declare that he was not a Communist. On October 11, 1960, Pauling was threatened to be held in contempt of Congress because he refused to reveal the names of those who helped circulate his petition to ban nuclear testing.
Despite unrelenting governmental oppression, Pauling remained undaunted and continued his crusade by writing a draft resolution for a nuclear test ban treaty. He sent letters and copies of his resolution to both President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev. The two superpowers eventually agreed on a limited test ban treaty, one that was strikingly similar to Pauling’s. The treaty went into effect on October 10, 1963, the very day it was announced that Pauling was to receive his second Nobel Prize.
Too Far Ahead of His Time
By disseminating his knowledge about the lethal dangers of radioactive fallout, Pauling became a target of government persecution, harassment in the press, and charges of working for the enemy. He could have been jailed for refusing to provide Congress with the names of those involved in gathering more than 9,000 signatures for the scientific petition to ban above-ground nuclear testing.
We are now learning that the government knew about the effects of above-ground nuclear testing, but covered it up. In the 1950s for example, government officials notified suppliers of photographic film of expected fallout patterns so they could protect their film, but did not share the information with milk producers. Many children drank this radioactive contaminated milk.
A 1997 report by the National Cancer Institute indicated that farm children who drank goats’ milk in the 1950s in high fallout areas were as severely exposed as the worst exposed children after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant accident. Death rates from leukemia and other cancers, and diseases caused by the Chernobyl accident, are estimated to kill tens of thousands in the future.2
Environmental groups are calling for the US government to expand its compensation program for test site “downwinders” to include hot spots thousands of miles from the test sites, and to formulate and implement a comprehensive response to the public health threat posed by the fallout.
This preliminary report about the lethal effects of nuclear testing has alarmed some members of Congress, including Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa. “What we know is maybe the tip of the iceberg here,” Harkin said. “We know that there’s been upwards of perhaps 15,000 deaths that are attributable to these nuclear tests.” Congress received the preliminary report last August. The report was endorsed by the prestigious Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, but the government has yet to formulate a public health response.
“People have a right to know if they were exposed, where the big areas of fallout were, and they need to be screened and told what to do to protect their health,” Senator Harkin said.
It is interesting to note that what Senator Harkin advocates today would have been considered heresy in the 1950s, since the government’s official position at that time was that radioactive fallout was harmless.
Forty-five years ago, Dr. Linus Pauling formulated a public health response to eradicate this problem, but the Federal government chose instead to persecute this brilliant scientist and humanist so that the practice of raining radioactive fallout throughout the United States could continue.
As is too often the case, when the government makes a criminal accusation against a political dissident (in this case Linus Pauling), history later shows that it was the government itself that was involved in the sinister activities. What could be more anti-American than inflicting cancer on 15,000 innocent people?
Linus Pauling’s Theory about Vitamin C and Heart Attack
Linus Pauling never stopped taking controversial positions. In the 1960s, he began to investigate the role that vitamin C played in human health. Pauling postulated that a cause of atherosclerosis is a lifelong vitamin C deficiency.
One of the great misfortunes of human evolution, Pauling explained, was when our human ancestors lost their ability to manufacture vitamin C. Ever since proto-humans moved out of fruit- and vegetable-rich habitats, Pauling said, they have suffered great deficiencies of vitamin C. Pauling recommended that people make up for this deficiency with daily doses of vitamin C much greater than the 60 mg recommended by the government.
Pauling laid out a molecular basis to explain vitamin C’s connection with lipoprotein-a, a substance whose levels in the blood have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Lipoprotein-a is also a major component of the plaques found in the blood vessels of atherosclerosis patients.
Pauling has published studies asserting that lipoprotein-a is a surrogate for vitamin C, serving to strengthen blood vessel walls in the absence of adequate amounts of the vitamin in the diet. Pauling noted that animals that manufacture their vitamin C have very little lipoprotein-a in their blood.
Pauling was convinced that high doses of vitamin C could help prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease, inhibiting the formation of disease-promoting lesions on blood vessel walls and perhaps decreasing the production of lipoprotein-a in the blood.
Linus Pauling’s position on vitamin C once again put him under intense criticism, this time from the medical establishment who asserted that vitamin C had nothing to do with heart attack risk.
|The only reason Linus Pauling was not thrown in jail for promoting the benefits of vitamin C is that he did not sell it. Before 1994, the FDA prohibited distributors of vitamin supplements from making health claims.|
Linus Pauling Again Exonerated
Over the past 12 years, a large volume of published studies has supported Linus Pauling’s position on the role of vitamin C and heart disease. Many of these studies look at the beneficial effects that vitamin C has on the arterial wall, but what is most impressive are human epidemiological studies showing that people with high levels of vitamin C live longer and suffer fewer heart attacks compared to those with low vitamin C.
One of the first human studies that substantiated the benefits of vitamin supplements was announced in 1992 and showed that men who took 800 mg a day of vitamin C lived six years longer than those who consumed the FDA’s recommended daily allowance of 60 mg a day. This ten-year study, published in the journal Epidemiology,3 showed that high vitamin C intake extended average life span and reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease.
A compelling report that high-potency supplements extend life span in humans was published in the August 1996 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study involved 11,178 elderly people, who participated in a trial to establish the effects of vitamin supplements on mortality. When the effects of vitamin C and E were compared, overall mortality was reduced by 42%. What made these findings significant was that the study compared people who took low potency “one-a-day” multiple vitamins to those who took higher potency vitamin C and E supplements. Only the participants taking high-dose vitamin C and E supplements benefitted.4
A study published in the British Medical Journal evaluated 1,605 randomly selected men in Finland aged 42 to 60 years between 1984 and 1989. None of these men had evidence of pre-existing heart disease. After adjusting for other confounding factors, men who were deficient in vitamin C had 3.5 times more heart attacks than men who were not deficient in vitamin C. The scientists’ conclusion was, “Vitamin C deficiency, as assessed by low plasma ascorbate concentration, is a risk factor for coronary heart disease.”5
In a study published last year in The Lancet, researchers at Cambridge University in England looked at serum vitamin C and how long people lived. People who had the lowest levels of vitamin C were twice as likely to die compared to those with the highest serum vitamin C levels. This study was based on the findings from over 19,000 people.6
Does Vitamin C Cause Kidney Stones?
Linus Pauling came under attack by medical doctors who asserted that vitamin C caused kidney stones. Based on Dr. Pauling’s molecular knowledge of chemistry, he meticulously rebutted these unfounded allegations. What Dr. Pauling lacked in the 1960s and 1970s, however, were human studies to validate that vitamin C did not increase kidney stone risk.
Dr. Pauling was exonerated again by a report from Harvard Medical School that showed no increased risk of kidney stones when evaluating 85,557 women over a 14-year study period. This report, published in the April 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, showed that women who consumed 1,500 mg a day or more of vitamin C were no more likely to develop kidney stones than women who consumed less than 250 mg of vitamin C a day. The study did reveal that women who consumed 40 mg or more of vitamin B6 were 34% less likely to develop kidney stones compared to women taking fewer than 3 mg a day of B6.7
The only reason Linus Pauling was not thrown in jail for promoting the benefits of vitamin C is that he did not sell it. Before 1994, the FDA prohibited distributors of vitamin supplements from making health claims.
Can We Stop Persecuting Today’s Linus Paulings?
Those with new ideas often face fierce attack by the establishment and the Federal government. A recent example was the announcement that human embryonic stem cells had been produced and that there is now an opportunity to cure many of today’s lethal diseases.
You would think that the scientist who made this remarkable discovery, Dr. Mike West, would be proclaimed a hero. Instead, government leaders immediately vowed to pass new laws to make it a crime to create embryonic stem cells for therapeutic cloning purposes. In Senate hearings, scientists and people afflicted with disease are appealing to lawmakers to not ban therapeutic cloning research.
Our concern is that only a miniscule number of brilliant minds like Linus Pauling are ever born. When Linus Pauling stated that radioactive fallout caused cancer in humans, he was ridiculed, persecuted and almost incarcerated. Now 45 years later, Pauling has been proven right. This vindication does nothing for the 15,000 Americans who have perished from radioactive fallout-induced cancer.
Today, there are pockets of exceptional intelligence that are stifled by bureaucratic red tape. In order to create the scientific renaissance needed to radically extend the healthy human life span, we must break down the barriers that suppress implementation of new ideas.
We as citizens and Life Extension® members must protect those brilliant minds (the Linus Paulings of today) who may be too intimidated to risk their personal freedom to bring forth the scientific truth.