Investigation: US Released Biological Agents On Its People

It may be unthinkable that the United States government would release a biological agent on its people. However, it has been released that this has already happened. Unfortunately, these tests have claimed the lives of people and still pose a risk to citizens. This investigation attempts to gather sources and explain how this happened.

Note: This article was written as the search for information was started. The earlier references are confirmed by the primary source. The news articles are also confirmed in this source as being correct although the military objected to the implication of harm. More information will be provided on the source document in another article.

The California Incident

From the 20-27 of September 1950, the San Francisco Bay Area was subjected to an experimental biological warfare attack. 1Leonard A. Cole.Health Security.Oct 2016.315-322. 2 3 According to the report that was only later declassified this took the shape of six tests. 4 The six test is cited with the author able to see the original source document. Like other claims, the primary source appears to have become impossible to reach (Leonard 1990) Charts, diagrams and other information was assembled for this attack on the American city. The chosen weapon was Bacillus Globiggi and Serratia Marcescens 5 Leonard 1990 6which is similar to actual bio weapons that were feared to be used on American civilians. They were deployed from ships and then blown inshore with stations set up to measure the spread rate. According to the report, it was a success and was detected spread across the area. 6 Leonard 1990 No attempt was made to study the population or if anything had happened. It appears that all the military study was looking at was the spread rate with no checkup for any issues.

Other locations are mentioned that similar tests took place. However, the exact details of tests that used the same style are hard to come by. In terms of consequences, it appears to have a lasting impact. Especially with one family.

“SAN FRANCISCO — Fifty-one years ago, Edward J. Nevin checked into a San Francisco hospital, complaining of chills, fever and general malaise. Three weeks later, the 75-year-old retired pipe fitter was dead, the victim of what doctors said was an infection of the bacterium Serratia marcescens.” 7

Other victims also appear to be likely. With hospitals being impacted and the agent still remaining in the bay area to this day. 11 other people where identified to have a condition that is caused by the same agent that was deployed. 8 In 1951, for example, a doctor reported 11 cases of urinary infection in one hospital, with Serratia marcescans. These occurred in 1950 and 1951.

Twin Minneapolis And One ST Louis Tests

Minneapolis in 1953 was breathing in a poison without even realizing it. From generators placed on the rooftop, a mixture of zinc cadmium sulfide was pumped into the air. It then would impact a nearby school with the students around to be impacted. 9 10 Chicago Tribune It is now known that the mixture causes cancer among other complications. The consequences that were reported and not denied by the military are horrifying. Birth defects, miscarriages and sterility are higher than the general population for those that were exposed to these tests.

Not much information is out there about the other Minneapolis and then ST Louis test. It appears that these were airborne tests in some reports. However, others mention the deployment from a vehicle. The only credible source that I could find stated that this was a vehicle test. 11 Leonard 1990 By doing further research I managed to find that numerous other test sites on public land were used. The exact details of what happened during all these tests are beyond the scope of my research.

This confirms the California Test as well
The two Minneapolis Tests are found later in the document

Yes They Did Dump Stuff From The Air

“In the largest test ever undertaken by the Chemical Corps to date, fluorescent microscopic particles of zinc calcium sulphide were sprayed from aircraft to assess the way in which biological organisms might spread in the event of an attack on the United States. Operation LAC (large area coverage) was reported to have covered the United States ‘from the Rockies to the Atlantic, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.” (Hay 2002)

The United States also wanted the ability to ship these weapons across the world and conducted tests where loaded weapons would then be flown to a destination. This meant that soaring above the sky was loaded with biological and chemical weapons. (Hay 2002)

Operation Whitecoat

While subjecting the civilian population to experiment the military had riskier and more complex experiments committed against it. In popular culture, this often focuses on SHAD (Shipboard Hazards And Defense). However, another series of experiments were conducted on volunteers under the name of the Whitecoat project. Both steeming from the view demonstrated by the Armed Forces Medical Policy Council 1953 statement;

“tests with simulants has demonstrated the vulnerability of the United States to biological attack, no scientific data was available to assess human vulnerability to biological agents. ” -pg 117

After more discussion, this saw the approval for human experiments to be allowed however a strong framework had to be developed to ensure this was ethical. This saw the establishment of rules that would guide the program that took the name Operation Whitecoat.

a. Voluntary consent is required. Written consent must be written, and signed by the individual concerned.

b. No experimentation which could predictably lead to death or permanent disabling injury will be investigated with the use of human volunteers.

c. Proper medical supervision and treatment capabilities will be immediately available to subjects.

d. Experimentation must be expected to yield fruitful results for the good of society, not available by other means.

e. Experimentation should avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering.

f. The degree of risk taken should never exceed the importance of experiment or expectable benefits from it.

g. The volunteer may remove himself from the experiment at any stage if he feels that he has reached the limits of his physical or mental endurance.

These were shaped into further policy that was the backbone of the operation. The difference between the operation and the tests conducted on civilians is telling. It was a completely different view of consent for individuals and was something that no civilian the cities or regions tested on was given.


The US military used the civilian population of the United States in irresponsible tests. With the fact that they had such a focus on ethics when it came to using military personnel in other tests it shows they could think about them in some situations. In my mind, it is highly likely that individuals have been killed due to the release of this bacteria and it has been a contributing factor for the releases that followed. The fact that some people seem to be focused on blind trust in the government is foolish. Mistakes and bad actors can be made and the government is more than happy to lie to you in the interests of what it believes is your good.

I am sure that in the modern day medical experts working for the government would never lie to the public for their good however…

Primary Source:

Expect more discussion about what is detailed in this document to be in another article. It was discovered late into the search and confirms other sources used throughout the article.

Biological testing involving human subjects by the Department of Defense, 1977 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session … March 8 and May 23, 1977

Supplied by NIH


Alastair Hay (1999) Simulants, stimulants and diseases: The evolution of the United States biological warfare programme, 1945–60, Medicine, Conflict and Survival, 15:3,198-214, DOI: 10.1080/13623699908409459 Link Received from

Harold Schmeck (1997) Army Tells of U.S. Germ War Tests; Safety of Simulated Agents at Issue, New York Times, Link Received

Jim Carlton (2001) of Microbes and Mock Attacks: Years Ago, The Military Sprayed Germs on U.S. Cities, The Wall Street Journal, Link Received

J.A. Poupard, L.A. Miller, in Encyclopedia of Microbiology (Third Edition), 2009, Link Received from:

Reuters (1994) Minneapolis Called Toxic Test Site in ’53, New York Times, Link Received

Roger Worthington (1994) Army Test Raises Accusations, Chicago Tribune, Link Received