Health Effects

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) administers research programs and monitoring activities, both domestic and international, that support the protection and promotion of the health of DOE workers, their families, and residents of neighboring communities near DOE sites, affected  by exposure to hazardous materials from DOE sites or a result of nuclear weapons testing, use or  accident. Domestic health activities include studies of historical workplace exposures, responding to disease outbreaks and radiation accidents, and addressing critical research needs for important occupational exposures. International health studies and activities support the health and safety mission of DOE by providing new knowledge and information about the human response to ionizing radiation in the workplace or people exposed in communities as a result of nuclear accidents.


The Office of Human Radiation Experiments, established in March 1994, leads the Department of Energy's efforts to tell the agency's Cold War story of radiation research using human subjects. We have undertaken an intensive effort to identify and catalog relevant historical documents from DOE's 3.2 million cubic feet of records scattered across the country. Internet access to these resources is a key part of making DOE more open and responsive to the American public.