“On Sunday, the 15th of July, about noon, we were at Hunters Point and they put upon us what we now know was the atomic bomb.” Capt. Charles . McVay III, US Navy Commanding Officer, USS Indianapolis (Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center)
Operation Crossroads was a series of nuclear weapons tests conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Shot Able and Baker were publicly announced and observed by an invited audience and press corp. Detonated on July 25, 1946, Shot Baker was the first underwater test of an atomic device. The underwater fireball created a 30 foot deep crater on the seafloor. Water burst upward like a geyser creating a dome containing 2 million tons of water. The bubble generated a 94 foot high tsunami wave that rolled over target ships killing all animals on board. Operation Crossroads was terminated on August 10, 1946 due to radiation safety concerns. Target and support ships deemed too radiation contaminated to be salvageable were hauled back to the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.
The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is located in southeastern San Francisco on a promontory that extends eastward into San Francisco Bay. The history of the shipyard in the creation, testing and delivery of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction cannot remain buried within the depths of our conscience. Designated a federal Superfund site in 1989, the shipyard was the location of the United States Naval Radiological Defense Laboratories radiation experimentation that began in 1946 and continued until 1986. Hard evidence of radiation exposure in nearby residents and shipyard workers is being documented by the Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring Program.
Radiation damages human tissue by stripping it of charged particles called electrons. Radiation in low doses is linked to many cancers including breast, thyroid and skin cancer. Low dose radiation can change the basic structure of our genes. Residents and workers on and adjacent to the federal Superfund site at the Hunters Point Shipyard have undergone voluntary urinary toxicology screenings that detect products of nuclear fission, natural and technologically enhanced radionuclides.
The United States Naval Radiological Defense Laboratories operated as the premier radiation experimentation laboratory of the Post WWI era at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard South Basin region from 1946–1989. The main buildings of the NRDL campus are the 800 series situated along Crisp avenue…the eastward extension of Palou.
The Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring Program launched in January 2019, the first human biomonitoring program in the nation established to offer residents and workers at a federal Superfund site voluntary urinary toxicology screenings analyzed by a certified laboratory using mass spectrometry. Those screenings have detected radionuclides of concern (ROCs) documented by the US EPA and the Department of the Navy.
The main cluster of ROC’s centers around the shipyards historic entry at Palou traveling east to Crisp Road where the main laboratories of the United States Naval Radiological Defense Laboratories were sited. Building 830 is used by the University of California at San Francisco as a lab animal compound. 14 workers screened in a building adjacent to the dangerous Parcel E-2 landfill have had one or more radioactive elements detected in toxic concentrations including uranium levels 17 times higher than reference range and cesium in elevated concentrations.
Key to pin head mapping: yellow pin — uranium, green pin — cesium, blue pin — gadolinium, red pin -rubidium, white pin — strontium. All mappings represent screenings in which ROC was detected in concentrations above reference range and potentially toxic with and without health effects.
Building 830 long term worker with multiple ROCs detected including barium, uranium, manganese and vanadium.
Building 830 long term worker with multiple ROCs detected in urine including cesium, gallium, rubidium, thallium, manganese, vanadium and potassium. Radioactive potassium K-40 is abundant in shipyard soils and landfills and K-42 was fed to human volunteers to determine it’s impact on muscle mass in an experiment documented in the shipyards Historical Radiological Assessment.
Relationship between the Parcel E-2 landfill — an EPA designated federal Superfund site — to Building 830. Estimates are that the landfill is within 25 feet of the building. Lateral diagrams suggest the landfill has expanded and may be directly beneath Building 830. This is substantiated by numerous workers who report smelling methane gas in the workplace.
Radionuclides of Concern (ROCs) at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard are now being detected in nearby residents and workers. In 18 months of operation, HP Biomonitoring has detected the following ROC’s in dangerous concentrations: Barium, Bismuth, Cobalt, Cesium, Gadolinium, Potassium, Nickel, Strontium, Thallium and Uranium.

Neighbors…or Sisters?

Neighbor #1: ROC’s detected on urine toxicology screening include cesium, gadolinium, rubidium, thallium, manganese, strontium and vanadium.
Neighbor #2: ROC’s detected on urine toxicology screening include nickel, rubidium, thallium, manganese, strontium, vanadium and potassium.
According to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, “Exposure to ionizing radiation is the best — established and longest-established environmental cause of breast cancer in both men and women.”
The Hunters Point Shipyard Historical Radiological Assessment has been called “the Bible” of shipyard radiological operations.
Ahimsa Porter Sumchai, MD is Principal Investigator and Medical Director of the Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring Program. Dr. Sumchai is a graduate of the UCSF School of Medicine Class of 1981 and a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellow 1986–1988. Dr. Sumchai served as a physician specialist with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Attending Physician for the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Toxic Registry. Sumchai was elected to the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board in 2000 and in August 2001 founded the Radiological Subcommittee. She contributed to three iterations of the shipyards HRA leading to it’s publication in August 2004.
Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai and the Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring Program Awarded the CBS/KPIX Jefferson Award July 2020.

Medical Director - Golden State MD Health & Wellness. UCSF/Stanford Author & Researcher. PI HP Biomonitoring. Certified Clinical Nutritionist. PoliticoMD!

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