Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Army Tested Spray over 39 States

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Army Tested Spray over 39 States

Article excerpt

The Army secretly sprayed fluorescent particles from airplanes over the Midwest in the late 1950s as part of its biological weapons research program.

The particles, known as zinc cadmium sulfide, are the same as those sprayed from street corners in St. Louis in 1953 in a clandestine test program. No biological organisms were released in any of the tests.

The Army claims the microscopic particles were harmless, but some scientists warn that they presented a potential chemical health hazard.

Information about the aircraft tests was made public Tuesday by Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, D-St. Louis County. Last summer, after revelations about the St. Louis program, Gephardt requested more information from the Army about its biological weapons tests.

In a letter to Gephardt, Lt. Col. Bernard P. Ingold, legislative counsel for the Army, said the aircraft test operation was one of more than 24 Cold War tests using zinc cadmium sulfide. The aim of the tests was to determine the dispersal patterns of biological warfare agents.

Gephardt spokesman Dan Sallick said the Army was "moving in the right direction" in releasing the report.

Gephardt "just wants to make sure all the facts are out on the table and the public has full access to them," Sallick said. "Then we can make decisions based on that."

Parts of the test report remain classified, Ingold said, "because they could be used to determine how to maximize the dispersion of biological warfare agents and thus could present a significant threat to our national security."

The aircraft test program was called Operation Large Area Coverage.

Zinc cadmium sulfide particles were used partly because they are about the same size and weight as agents used in biological weapons.

"The Army wanted to learn if it was feasible to contaminate a large area, and if so, what logistics would be involved," the report said. Many scientists and Army experts suspected they could "cover large areas of the country" with biological weapons agents. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.