Ray Phillips and his sisters may have suffered from some Dugway tests, even though they lived thousands of miles away in Indiana.

In 1958, an airplane flew above Knox, Ind., where they lived, spreading dangerous cadmium sulfide. It was part of a Dugway-designed test to determine how germ weapons might spread in U.S. winds.It was called Operation Large Area Coverage and spread cadmium sulfide throughout the eastern United States and into Canada. Scientists today say Dugway could have and should have used safer chemicals, but cadmium sulfide was easier.

A few years ago, Phillips - who now lives in Oregon - developed lung disease that he said doctors told him shows all the classic symptoms of cadmium poisoning. He blamed it on the cadmium in photocopying machines he serviced.

But then a sister who had moved to New Mexico - and never worked with photocopiers - developed the same sort of lung disease. Then another sister in Michigan developed it, too.

Then Phillips in 1991 heard about a Deseret News probe that revealed the tests.

He called to confirm that his home had been in the flight path of one test and said, "I wonder if it had something to do with my illness."

Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., has been pushing recently for documents and hearings to help people in the East and Midwest to answer that same question. He became interested after the Minnesota press wrote stories about how some of the tests were performed over that state.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.