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Britain Cleaning Up Scottish Island Used for Germ War Tests

July 10, 1986|From Reuters

LONDON — British scientists have begun decontaminating a remote Scottish island uninhabited since germ warfare experiments there during World War II, the scientists said.

Gruinard Island off northwest Scotland was the site of top-secret bomb tests in 1942 and 1943 to determine whether the disease anthrax, which attacks the skin and causes fever, could be used in biological weapons.

Gruinard, nicknamed Death Island, has been deserted since then because of tiny spores of the disease buried in the soil.

But scientists Tuesday started cleaning up the island with a solution of the embalming fluid formaldehyde and sea water, which they recently discovered could kill the remaining spores. They said the operation will take at least a year.

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