“Documents Show the U.S. Military Sprayed Radioactive Zinc Cadmium Sulfide on Poor People in St. Louis USA. Areas of the tests included the Desoto-Carr area and the famous Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project, a dense series of high-rise buildings comprised of a majority black population where 70% children were under the age of twelve.
Dr. Martino-Taylor told us that specifically, her research identifies a coalition of medical researchers that grew out of the Manhattan Project, which she refers to as the Manhattan-Rochester Coalition. This coalition conducted various secret radiological tests around the nation. The group was involved in previously known “injection” and “ingestion” human-subject studies that exposed unwitting victims to radioactive material such as plutonium and strontium-90.”
The experiments included a wide array of studies, involving things like feeding radioactive food to mentally disabled children or conscientious objectors
, inserting radium
rods into the noses of schoolchildren, deliberately releasing radioactive chemicals over U.S. and Canadian cities, measuring the health effects of radioactive fallout from nuclear bomb tests, injecting pregnant women and babies with radioactive chemicals, and irradiating the testicles of prison inmates, amongst other things.
Radioactive iodine experiments
In 1953, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
(AEC) ran several studies on the health effects of radioactive iodine in newborns and pregnant women at the University of Iowa
. In one study, researchers gave pregnant women from 100 to 200 microcuries (3.7 to 7.4 MBq) of iodine-131, in order to study the women’s aborted embryos
in an attempt to discover at what stage, and to what extent, radioactive iodine crosses the placental
barrier. In another study, they gave 25 newborn babies (who were under 36 hours old and weighed from 5.5 to 8.5 pounds (2.5 to 3.9 kg)) iodine-131, either by oral administration or through an injection, so that they could measure the amount of iodine in their thyroid glands.
In a 1949 operation called the “Green Run
,” the AEC released iodine-131 and xenon-133
to the atmosphere which contaminated a 500,000-acre (2,000 km2) area containing three small towns near the Hanford site
In 1953, the AEC sponsored a study to discover if radioactive iodine affected premature
babies differently from full-term babies. In the experiment, researchers from Harper Hospital in Detroit orally administered iodine-131 to 65 premature and full-term infants who weighed from 2.1 to 5.5 pounds (0.95 to 2.5 kg).
From 1955 to 1960 Sonoma State Hospital in northern California served as a permanent drop off location for mentally handicapped children diagnosed with cerebral palsy or lessor disorders. The children subsequently underwent painful experimentation without adult consent. Many were given irradiated milk, some spinal taps “for which they received no direct benefit.” 60 Minutes Wednesday learned that in these fifteen years, the brain of every cerebral palsy child who died at Sonoma State was removed and studied without parental consent. According to the CBS story, over 1,400 patients died at the clinic.
In 1962, the Hanford site again released I-131, stationing test subjects along its path to record its effect on them. The AEC also recruited Hanford volunteers to ingest milk contaminated with I-131 during this time.
“It is desired that no document be released which refers to experiments with humans and might have adverse effect on public opinion or result in legal suits. Documents covering such work field should be classified
April 17, 1947 Atomic Energy Commission memo from Colonel O.G. Haywood, Jr. to Dr. Fidler at the Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee
Between 1953 and 1957, at the Massachusetts General Hospital
, Dr. William Sweet injected eleven terminally ill, comatose and semi-comatose patients with uranium in an experiment to determine, among other things, its viability as a chemotherapy
treatment against brain tumors
, which all but one of the patients had (one being a mis-diagnosis). Dr. Sweet, who died in 2001, maintained that consent had been obtained from the patients and next of kin.
Experiments involving other radioactive materials
Immediately after World War II, researchers at Vanderbilt University
gave 829 pregnant mothers in Tennessee what they were told were “vitamin drinks” that would improve the health of their babies, but were, in fact, mixtures containing radioactive iron, to determine how fast the radioisotope crossed into the placenta
. At least three children are known to have died from the experiments, from cancers and leukemias.
Four of the women’s babies died from cancers as a result of the experiments, and the women experienced rashes, bruises, anemia, hair/tooth loss, and cancer.
From 1946 to 1953, at the Walter E. Fernald State School
in Massachusetts, in an experiment sponsored by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and the Quaker Oats
corporation, 73 mentally disabled children were fed oatmeal
containing radioactive calcium
and other radioisotopes
, in order to track “how nutrients were digested”. The children were not told that they were being fed radioactive chemicals and were told by hospital staff and researchers that they were joining a “science club”.
In the 1950s, researchers at the Medical College of Virginia performed experiments on severe burn victims, most of them poor and black, without their knowledge or consent, with funding from the Army and in collaboration with the AEC.
In the experiments, the subjects were exposed to additional burning, experimental antibiotic treatment, and injections of radioactive isotopes. The amount of radioactive phosphorus-32
injected into some of the patients, 500 microcuries (19 MBq), was 50 times the “acceptable” dose for a healthy individual; for people with severe burns, this likely led to significantly increased death rates.
Similar experiments were performed on over 7,000 U.S. Army and Navy personnel during World War II.
Nasal Radium Irradiation went on to become a standard medical treatment and was used in over two and a half million Americans.
In another study at the Walter E. Fernald State School, in 1956, researchers gave mentally disabled children radioactive calcium orally and intravenously. They also injected radioactive chemicals into malnourished babies and then pushed needles through their skulls, into their brains, through their necks, and into their spines to collect cerebrospinal fluid
An eighteen-year-old woman at an upstate New York hospital, expecting to be treated for a pituitary gland
disorder, was injected with plutonium
In 1961 and 1962, ten Utah State Prison inmates had blood samples taken which were then mixed with radioactive chemicals and reinjected back into their bodies.
In a 1967 study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, pregnant women were injected with radioactive cortisol
to see if it would cross the placental barrier and affect the fetuses
The Bravo test was detonated upwind of Rongelap Atoll
and the residents were exposed to serious radiation levels, up to 180 rads (1.8 Gy). Of the 236 Marshallese exposed, some developed severe radiation sickness
and one died, and long term effects included birth defects, “jellyfish” babies, and thyroid problems.
In 1957, atmospheric nuclear explosions in Nevada, which were part of Operation Plumbbob
were later determined to have released enough radiation to have caused from 11,000 to 212,000 excess cases of thyroid cancer
amongst U.S. citizens who were exposed to fallout
from the explosions, leading to between 1,100 and 21,000 deaths.
Early in the Cold War
, in studies known as Project GABRIEL
and Project SUNSHINE
, researchers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia attempted to determine just how much nuclear fallout would be required to make the Earth uninhabitable.
They realized that atmospheric nuclear testing
had provided them an opportunity to investigate this. Such tests had dispersed radioactive contamination
worldwide, and examination of human bodies could reveal how readily it was taken up and hence how much damage it caused. Of particular interest was strontium
-90 in the bones. Infants were the primary focus, as they would have had a full opportunity to absorb the new contaminants.
As a result of this conclusion, researchers began a program to collect human bodies and bones from all over the world, with a particular focus on infants. The bones were cremated and the ashes analyzed for radioisotopes. This project was kept secret primarily because it would be a public relations
disaster; as a result parents and family were not told what was being done with the body parts of their relatives.
Between 1960 and 1971, the Department of Defense funded non-consensual wholebody radiation
experiments on poor, black cancer patients, who were not told what was being done to them. Patients were told that they were receiving a “treatment” that might cure their cancer, but in reality the Pentagon was attempting to determine the effects of high levels of radiation on the human body.
One of the doctors involved in the experiments, Robert Stone, was worried about litigation
by the patients, so he only referred to them by their initials on the medical reports. He did this so that, in his words, “there will be no means by which the patients can ever connect themselves up with the report”, in order to prevent “either adverse publicity or litigation”.
From 1960 to 1971, Dr. Eugene Saenger
, funded by the Defense Atomic Support Agency, performed whole body radiation experiments on more than 90 poor, black, terminally ill cancer patients with inoperable tumors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He forged consent forms, and did not inform them of the risks of irradiation.
The patients were given 100 or more rads (1 Gy) of whole-body radiation, which in many caused intense pain and vomiting. Critics have questioned the medical rationale for this study, and contend that the main purpose of the research was to study the acute effects of radiation exposure.
From 1963 to 1973, a leading endocrinologist
, Dr. Carl Heller, irradiated
the testicles of Oregon
prisoners. In return for their participation, he gave them $5 a month, and $100 when they had to receive a vasectomy
upon conclusion of the trial. The surgeon who sterilized the men said that it was necessary to “keep from contaminating the general population with radiation-induced mutants
“. One of the researchers who had worked with Heller on the experiments, Dr. Joseph Hamilton, said that the experiments “had a little of the Buchenwald
In 1963, University of Washington
of 232 prisoners to determine the effects of radiation on testicular function. When these inmates later left prison and had children, at least four of them had offspring born with birth defects
. The exact number is unknown because researchers never followed up on the status of the subjects.
“At Harvard University, in the late 1940s, researchers began performing experiments where they tested diethylstilbestrol
, a synthetic estrogen
, on pregnant women at the Lying-In Hospital of the University of Chicago. The women experienced an abnormally high number of miscarriages and babies with low birth weight. None of the women were told that they were being experimented on.
In 1962, researchers at the Laurel Children’s Center in Maryland tested experimental acne
medications on children, and continued their tests even after half of the children developed severe liver
damage from the medications.
From 1988 to 2008, the number of overseas clinical trials for drugs intended for American consumption increased by 2,000%, to approximately 6,500 trials. These trials are often conducted in areas with large numbers of poor and illiterate people who grant their consent by signing an “X” or making a thumb print on a form.
These tests are rarely monitored by the FDA, and have in some cases proved deadly, such as a case where 49 babies died in New Delhi, India
during a 30-month trial. The cost of testing in countries without safety regulations is much lower; and, due to lax or nonexistent oversight, pharmaceutical corporations (or research companies they’ve contracted out to) are able to more easily suppress research that demonstrates harmful effects and only report positive results.
The 1846 journals of Dr. Walter F. Jones of Petersburg, Virginia, describe how he poured boiling water onto the backs of naked slaves afflicted with typhoid pneumonia
, at four-hour intervals, because he thought that this might “cure” the disease by “stimulating the capillaries”.
In 1914, Joseph Goldberger
restricted prisoner diets to induce pellagra
, which he suspected were caused byvitamin deficiencies
, not infectious diseases, as was believed at the time. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for his work.
From early 1940 until 1953, Dr. Lauretta Bender
, a highly respected pediatric neuropsychiatrist who practiced at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, performed electroshock experiments on at least 100 children. The children’s ages ranged from 3–12 years. Some reports indicate that she may have performed such experiments on more than 200.
Electroconvulsive treatment was used on more than 500 children at Bellevue Hospital from 1942 to 1956, including Bender’s experiments, and then at Creedmoor State Hospital Children’s Service from 1956 to 1969. Publicly, Bender claimed that the results of the “therapy” were positive, but in private memos, she expressed frustration over mental health issues caused by the treatments.
Bender would sometimes shock schizophrenic children (some less than 3 years old) twice per day, for 20 consecutive days. Several of the children became violent and suicidal as a result of the treatments.
At Willowbrook State School for the mentally retarded in Staten Island, NY, a highly controversial medical study was carried out there between 1963 and 1966 by medical researchers Saul Krugman and Robert W. McCollum.
Healthy children who were mentally retarded, were secretly intentionally inoculated, orally and by injection, with a virus that causes the hepatitis, then monitored to gauge the effects of gamma globulin in combating the resultant disease. A public outcry forced the study to be discontinued after it was exposed and condemnend by Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
New York Senator Robert Kennedy and a television crew visit Willowbrook State school in Staten Island NY. “He likens the conditions at Willowbrook to that of a “snake pit,” and states that the residents of these institutions were “denied access to education and are deprived of their civil liberties.” Later that same year, he addressed a joint session of the NYS Legislature on the “dehumanizing conditions” of the State’s institutions.
In 1950, researchers at the Cleveland City Hospital ran experiments to study changes in cerebral
blood flow where they injected people with spinal anesthesia
, and inserted needles into their jugular veins and brachial arteries to extract large quantities of blood, and after massive blood loss which caused paralysis
, measured their blood pressure
. The experiment was often performed multiple times on the same subject.
In a series of studies which were published in the medical journal Pediatrics, researchers from the University of California
Department of Pediatrics performed experiments on 113 newborns ranging in age from 1-hour to 3 days, where they studied changes in blood pressure and blood flow.
In one of the studies, researchers forced a catheter
through the babies’ umbilical arteries
and into their aortas
, and then submerged their feet in ice water. In another of the studies, they strapped 50 newborn babies to a circumcision
board, and then turned them upside down so that all of their blood rushed into their heads.
From 1963 to 1969 as part of Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense
(SHAD), the U.S. Army performed tests which involved spraying several U.S. ships with various biological and chemical warfare agents, while thousands of U.S. military personnel were aboard the ships. The personnel were not notified of the tests, and were not given any protective clothing. Chemicals tested on the U.S. military personnel included the nerve gases VX
, toxic chemicals such as zinc cadmium sulfide
and sulfur dioxide
, and a variety of biological agents.
The San Antonio Contraceptive Study was a clinical research study about the side effects of oral contraceptives published in 1971. Women came to a clinic in San Antonio for preventing pregnancies and were not told they were participating in a research study or receiving placebos. 10 of the women became pregnant while on placebos.
In the 2000s, artificial blood was transfused into research subjects across the United States without their consent by Northfield Labs.
Later studies showed the artificial blood caused a significant increase in the risk of heart attacks and death.
Legal, academic and professional policy
During the Nuremberg trials
, several of the Nazi doctors and scientists who were being tried for their human experiments claimed that the inspiration for their studies had come from studies that they had seen performed in the United States.
In 1945, as part of Operation Paperclip
, the United States government recruited 1,600 Nazi scientists, many of whom had performed human experimentation in Nazi concentration camps. The scientists were offered immunity from any war crimes
they had committed during the course of their work for the Nazi government, in return for doing similar research for the United States government. Many of the Nazi scientists continued their human experimentation when they arrived in the United States.
A secret AEC document dated April 17, 1947, titled Medical Experiments in Humans stated: “It is desired that no document be released which refers to experiments with humans that might have an adverse reaction on public opinion
or result in legal suits. Documents covering such fieldwork should be classified Secret.”
At the same time, the Public Health Service was instructed to tell citizens downwind from bomb tests that the increases in cancers were due to neurosis
, and that women with radiation sickness, hair loss, and burned skin were suffering from “housewife syndrome”.
In 1966, the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) Office for Protection of Research Subjects (OPRR) was created, and issued its Policies for the Protection of Human Subjects which recommended establishing independent review bodies, which were later called institutional review boards
In 1974 the National Research Act
established the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects, and mandated that the Public Health Service
to come up with regulations that would protect the rights of human research subjects.
In 1975, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (DHEW) created regulation which included the recommendations laid out in the NIH’s 1966 Policies for the Protection of Human Subjects. Title 45 of theCode of Federal Regulations
, known as “The Common Rule,” requires the appointment and utilization of institutional review boards (IRBs) in experiments using human subjects.
No judicially crafted rule should insulate from liability the involuntary and unknowing human experimentation alleged to have occurred in this case. Indeed, as Justice Brennan observes, the United States played an instrumental role in the criminal prosecution
officials who experimented with human subjects
during the Second World War
, and the standards that the Nuremberg Military Tribunals
developed to judge the behavior of the defendants stated that the ‘voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential … to satisfy moral, ethical, and legal concepts.’ If this principle is violated, the very least that society can do is to see that the victims are compensated, as best they can be, by the perpetrators.
On January 15, 1994, President Bill Clinton formed the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments
(ACHRE). This committee was created to investigate and report the use of human beings as test subjects in experiments involving the effects of ionizing radiation in federally funded research. The committee attempted to determine the causes of the experiments, and reasons why the proper oversight did not exist, and made several recommendations to help prevent future occurrences of similar events.
The United States also kept secrets for other countries, such as China, which performed secret radiation, chemical and biological experiments on people in a place called Unit 731. The agreement was that if China shared the ‘medical’ results of these barbarous human experiments, they would help China keep those experiments a secret.
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