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Founded in 1961, PSR made its mark by documenting the presence of Strontium-90, a highly radioactive waste product of atmospheric nuclear testing, in children's teeth. This finding led to the Limited Nuclear Test Ban treaty that ended atmospheric nuclear testing.

During the following two decades, PSR's work to educate the public about the dangers of nuclear war grew into an international movement with the founding of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. In 1985, PSR shared the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to IPPNW for building public awareness and pressure to end the nuclear arms race.

During the 1990's, PSR built on this record of achievement by helping to end new nuclear warhead production and winning an international moratorium on explosive nuclear testing. A Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty has been negotiated and signed, but has not been ratified by the United States Senate and has not yet come into force. PSR continues to educate and mobilize the health community and concerned citizens on a multitude of nuclear issues. Understanding that nuclear war continues to be the most acute threat to human life and the global biosphere, PSR continues its commitment of over 50 years to the elimination of nuclear weapons. As steps toward that goal, PSR advocates for deep cuts in nuclear arsenals, taking nuclear weapons of hair-trigger alert, and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. PSR supports alternative strategies for conflict resolution, including increased diplomacy and the rule of law. To reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation and enhance public safety, PSR opposes nuclear power.

In 1992, recognizing that new dangers now threaten of our own and communities around the world, PSR expanded its mission to apply its medical expertise to environmental health issues, addressing issues such as global climate change, proliferation of toxics, and pollution. That same year, PSR's mobilization of the medical community on environmental health issues led to a collaboration among MIT, the Harvard School of Public Health, Brown University and PSR's Greater Boston chapter that resulted in Critical Condition, Dr. Eric Chivian's definitive volume on human health and the environment. Since then, PSR has brought the medical and public health perspective to advance environmental health and protect present and future generations from the health effects of climate change and toxics in the environment, and promoting renewable energy solutions and energy security.

In 2006, PSR launched an Energy Security Initiative focused on environmental health and security issues and their impact on public health, and producing and holding briefings on our report, Powering Foreign Policy: The Role of Oil and Diplomacy in Conflict, that have brought together a diverse array of public policy organizations, congressional policymakers, embassy staff,  security experts and the media; and mobilizing thousands of PSR activists to send a letter to President Bush for inadequately funding research and development of renewable energy technologies and for failing to  implement the most effective tools for decreasing U.S. oil consumption conservation and energy efficiency.

In 2011 and 2012 Physicians for Social Responsibility celebrated its 50th anniversary.  Our legacy is filled with many individuals who have dedicated themselves these important issues, and PSR honors the contributions and accomplishments of our members, staff and volunteers over the past five decades.

A 50th Anniversary Dinner was held on April 9, 2011 in Washington, DC to celebrate PSR's history and legacy. PSR also sponsored an art contest as a part of the 50th anniversary celebration.

On both the nuclear disarmament and environmental health fronts, PSR continues to work for national priorities to ensure our nation's health, social and economic needs.

Read about PSR's successes here.

Page Updated September 1, 2017