More than 100 major medical journals from the United States and other countries published a joint editorial calling on medical professionals to alert governments and the public about the growing dangers of nuclear war and urge decisive action toward a nuclear-free world. “Any use of nuclear weapons would be catastrophic for humanity,” states the editorial, published on Aug. 1. It argues that even a so-called limited nuclear war could kill 120 million or more people and that a full-scale nuclear war between Russia and the United States would kill many times that number and potentially cause a “nuclear winter” threatening the survival of humanity. “The prevention of any use of nuclear weapons is therefore an urgent public health priority and fundamental steps must also be taken to address the root cause of the problem—by abolishing nuclear weapons,” the editorial says.
The editorial was signed by the editors of The British Medical Journal, JAMA, The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, the International Nursing Review, The National Medical Journal of India, and several others. Its publication was timed for the preparatory meeting for the 11th nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference, which ended Aug. 11, and the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, respectively.
“The danger is great and growing,” the editorial concludes. “The nuclear-armed states must eliminate their nuclear arsenals before they eliminate us.”—MICHAEL T. KLARE