Linus Pauling: Fallout, radioactive fallout, causes damage to the pool of human germ plasm that
will result -- that does result -- in the birth of an additional number of defective
children. I have estimated that the amount of increase in the mutation rate as a result
of radioactive fallout carried on at the present rate is one-percent. Testing at the
present rate leads to a one-percent increase in mutation rate, a one-percent increase
in the number of defective children who will be born in the future.
Now, Professor Beadle, Professor of Biology, Chairman of the Division of Biology at
the Califorina Institute of Technology, one of the world's leading geneticists, a
distinguished authority in this field, and conservative in all of this statements,
has told me that in his public statements, he has also made the estimate of one-percent.
Now there are, every year, 75 million children born in the world. Two percent of these
children are seriously deficient because of heredity of bad genes -- the bad genes
that are in the pool of human germ plasm -- partially due to the natural radioactivity
and cosmic rays, and now being increased by fallout. The two-percent of 75 million
is 1.5 million seriously defective children born each year, with various grave diseases
that cause them to die shortly after birth or in early childhood, to have mental deficiency
or serious physical defects that makes them suffer all of their lives or live their
lives in a mental institution.
One percent increase in this is fifteen-thousand seriously defective children a year.
This is the number according to my estimate, Dr. Beadle's estimate, the estimates
of Professor Crow -- another distinguished geneticist -- this is the number that will
be born each year when equilibrium is reached.
Moreover, the amount of testing at the present time corresponds to one large bomb,
one super bomb with ten megatons of fission released. We can say, accordingly, that
the man who gives the order to test a single large superbomb with high-fission yield,
is dooming 15,000 seriously defective children to be born in later generations. Also
there are serious effects on the health of human beings now living, according to the
information that is now available. This is the opinion that I and many of my scientific
colleagues -- a great many -- have.