Media Alert

OCTOBER 24, 2020


RE: United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Ratified by 50th Country
and American Public Health Association Adopts Policy Statement Calling for a Nuclear-Free World

FROM: Physicians for Social Responsibility, San Francisco Bay Chapter (SF Bay PSR)

CONTACT: Julie Lindow,, 415-710-4991

INTERVIEWS available with: Dr. Robert Gould and Dr. Tova Fuller, Board President and Vice President of SF Bay PSR

History was made on October 24, 2020, when Honduras ratified the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Now with 50 ratifications, the Treaty will enter-into-force in 90 days, becoming legally binding for countries that have joined the treaty, most likely on January 22, 2021, two days after Inauguration Day.

And on that day marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the American Public Health Association (APHA) voted, at its annual meeting, to adopt a new policy calling for a “Nuclear-Free World.” The policy advocates for the U.S. government to ratify the UN Treaty and embrace the five planks of the Back from the Brink Campaign. This new policy was the culmination of a year-long collaborative effort involving members of the SF Bay Area and Washington State PSR chapters.

The UN Treaty was the direct result of a multi-year effort spearheaded by PSR’s partner the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for their work. The Treaty “prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory…[as well as] assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.”

The United States and the other eight Nuclear-Weapons States continue to oppose the Treaty, and the Trump Administration last week undertook a campaign to pressure countries that have already ratified to withdraw from UN nuclear-ban treaty.

The new APHA policy “Call for a nuclear weapons-free world, number 20209” recognizes the immense threat of nuclear weapons to human survival, and the central role of public health professionals in advancing their abolition. Concretely, 1. It urges the U.S. president and Senate, as well as nuclear weapons-states to sign and ratify the United Nations Treaty; 2. encourages federal policymakers to support current and future treaties that call for the end to nuclear weapons testing, research, development, manufacture or use; 3. calls on Congress to address past and current occupational and environmental health harms posed by the U.S. nuclear weapons complex by investing in research, worker protections, health care and environmental cleanup; 4. and urges public health professionals to educate on the need for rapid nuclear disarmament.

The APHA policy was developed by SF Bay PSR’s Dr. Tova Fuller, Dr. Robert Gould, and Patrice Sutton, together with Washington State PSR members Dr. Amy Hagopian and Cameron Dacey.

ABOUT San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility

SF Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility works to protect human life from the gravest threats to health and survival. Consequently, we promote public policies that protect human health from the threats of nuclear war and other weapons of mass destruction, global environmental degradation, climate change, the epidemic of gun violence, and other social injustices in our society today.

The SF Bay PSR Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee members are health professionals and others working locally to influence public awareness, civic engagement, and national policy via California Members of Congress toward a nuclear-weapons-free world. Toward the latter, we endorse the Back from the Brink campaign and its policy platforms.

SF Bay PSR is a chapter of PSR National. Here is PSR National’s press release on this topic.


“As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, we honor the memories of the countless human beings who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the immanent entry-into-force of the “Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons,” and the adoption by the American Public Health Association of the new policy “Towards a Nuclear-Free World,” as critical steps toward eliminating the dread threat these weapons pose to human existence.”

— Robert M. Gould, MD, President SF Bay PSR

“This treaty lights up a path before us that leads to the day when planet Earth is no longer at risk of utter destruction in the span of 35 minutes.  The current generation is sending a signal to the next generation that we intend to pass on the Earth intact.”

— Martin Fleck, PSR Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program Director

“The TPNW provides a bold vision for a more just and sustainable future. As long as nuclear weapons exist, they pose an existential threat to all life on this planet. To fight for complete abolition is to fight against genocide and terracide. The TPNW sends a clear message that civil society craves true peace & that we refuse to be dragged into nuclear war and nuclear famine at the hands of the powerful few.”

— Allen Hester, PSR Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program Grassroots Coordinator

“With this victory comes the urgency to continue pushing our members of Congress to take action to align the United States with the international norm: that nuclear weapons are inhumane, immoral, and now also illegal.”
— Carly Brook, Washington PSR Nuclear Weapons Abolition Organizer