Anti-war activist and history-making whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg offered APHA TV a grim reminder of the consequences of using nuclear weapons, describing the fallout of nuclear conflict as “ almost unimaginable.”

“The information that the public needs is that while our leaders — both in the U.S. and Russia — threaten first use, (threaten) initiating nuclear war, what they’re threatening and preparing for is a public health catastrophe for which there is no remedy,” said Ellsberg, author of “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner,” at APHA’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo in San Diego. “This is a public health challenge that cannot be met after the event — it can only be prevented.”

A longtime activist on the dangers of nuclear weapons, Ellsberg is also known as the man who released the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in 1971, eventually revealing that U.S. officials had misled the public about the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The whistleblowing act also led to a landmark Supreme Court case that ruled newspapers could publish the then-classified Pentagon Papers without risk of punishment.

Last November at the APHA Annual Meeting, Ellsberg sat down for a one-on-one interview with APHA TV to talk about the need to reduce nuclear arms and take the weapons off a “hair trigger.”

“The message for public health people is to make people realize that prevention is everything here,” he said.

Visit APHA TV to watch Ellsberg’s full remarks as well as all the episodes from San Diego.

For more video from the 2018 APHA Annual Meeting and Expo, register for APHA Live. APHA Live includes on-demand, online access to 14 of the top sessions from the APHA Annual Meeting, including the Opening General Session, and the opportunity to earn up to 19 free continuing education credits. For even more educational programming from APHA 2018, consider RAMP, which includes synced PowerPoint presentations and voice recording of scientific sessions from the San Diego meeting.