# Dangerous science

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Magical Realist, Aug 10, 2013.

1. ### Magical RealistValued Senior Member

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10,881
"Researchers in the United States have performed thousands of human radiation experiments to determine the effects of atomic radiation and radioactive contamination on the human body, generally on people who were poor, sick, or powerless.[53] Most of these tests were performed, funded, or supervised by the United States military, Atomic Energy Commission, or various other US federal government agencies.

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.

Much information about these programs was classified and kept secret. In 1986 the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce released a report entitled "American nuclear guinea pigs : three decades of radiation experiments on U.S. citizens".[54] In the 1990s Eileen Welsome's reports for The Albuquerque Tribune prompted the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, created by executive order of president Bill Clinton. It published results in 1995. Welsome later wrote a book called The Plutonium Files.

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.[55]

In another AEC study, researchers at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine fed iodine-131 to 28 healthy infants through a gastric tube to test the concentration of iodine in the infants' thyroid glands.[55]

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 Washington.[56]

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).[55]

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 lesser 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.[57]

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.[55]

Uranium experiments[edit source]

“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 should be classified `secret’.”

April 17, 1947 Atomic Energy Commission memo from Colonel O.G. Haywood, Jr. to Dr. Fidler at the Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee

Between 1946 and 1947, researchers at the University of Rochester injected uranium-234 and uranium-235 in dosages ranging from 6.4 to 70.7 micrograms per kilogram of body weight into six people to study how much uranium their kidneys could tolerate before becoming damaged.[59]

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.[60][61]

Plutonium experiments[edit source]

In 1945, as part of the Manhattan Project, three patients at Billings Hospital at the University of Chicago were injected with plutonium.[62]

In 1946, six employees of a Chicago metallurgical lab were given water that was contaminated with plutonium-239, so that researchers could study how plutonium is absorbed into the digestive tract.[59]

An eighteen-year-old woman at an upstate New York hospital, expecting to be treated for a pituitary gland disorder, was injected with plutonium.[63]

Experiments involving other radioactive materials[edit source]

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.[64][65] 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.[53]

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".[64][66][67][68]

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.[69][70]

Between 1948 and 1954, funded by the federal government, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Hospital inserted radium rods into the noses of 582 Baltimore, Maryland schoolchildren as an alternative to adenoidectomy.[71][72][73] Similar experiments were performed on over 7,000 U.S. Army and Navy personnel during World War II.[71] Nasal radium irradiation went on to become a standard medical treatment and was used in over two and a half million Americans.[71]

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 for analysis.[68][74]

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.[75]

The Atomic Energy Commission funded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to administer radium-224 and thorium-234 to 20 people between 1961 and 1965. Many were chosen from the Age Center of New England and had volunteered for "research projects on aging". Doses were 0.2–2.4 microcuries (7.4–89 kBq) for radium and 1.2–120 microcuries (44–4,400 kBq) for thorium.[54]

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.[76]

Fallout research[edit source]

In 1954, American scientists conducted fallout exposure research on the citizens of the Marshall Islands after they were inadvertently irradiated[77] by the Castle Bravo nuclear test in Project 4.1. 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.[78]

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.[79]

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.[80][81] 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.[82]

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.[83]

Between 1960 and 1971, the Department of Defense funded non-consensual whole body 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".[84]

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.[85][86]

From 1963 to 1973, a leading endocrinologist, Dr. Carl Heller, irradiated the testicles of Oregon and Washington 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 touch".[87]

In 1963, University of Washington researchers irradiated the testes 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."----http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unethical_human_experimentation_in_the_United_States

3. ### dumbest man on earthReal Eyes Realize Real LiesValued Senior Member

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2,856
Sarkus, thank you for taking the time to reply. And no need to be sorry, honestly, I would have been truly surprised, though pleasantly so, had your response fallen outside of mentioned realm.
Thanks, again

5. ### dumbest man on earthReal Eyes Realize Real LiesValued Senior Member

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2,856
Tiassa, okay. " No, I do not care to clarify." would have been a simpler, though far less pedantic, answer.
Since, I guess, you prefer to stay with "...the attempts to ward off the question are telling.".
It is kind of "telling" that at least you do not just ignore questions that cause you to become "Parsed Off" !!

7. ### SarkusHippomonstrosesquippedalo phobeValued Senior Member

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7,478
I think most advocates of science are more aware than most of the harmful uses to which scientific discoveries can be put.
Further, just because you may, as a "political leftist and would-be revolutionary" refuse to entertain something does not mean that others are equally refusing, or that their refusal (if there is any) is as equally illogical or irrational as you might perceive your own to be in such situations.
Or it reminds us that they have and conclude their position after rigour and rational thought.
One could equally say to you that your attempts to attack science reminds one that you have not thought the issue through.
The comment, in and of itself, is merely verbal fluff that attempts to put oneself above the other side at having "thought the issue through" more fully.
Sure, other than when it actually enables him to make the points he wants to.
That you see it as pedantry just reminds us that you have not thought through the issue... Etc.

Weakened in what way? Please provide examples that relate to letting science dictate how we live... I.e. the subject in hand.
Of course there is no guarantee of the desired outcome in most things we choose to do. But you have yet to show how this is an issue with science rather than merely the people who wish to use science as a tool for discovery.

It is our choice to welcome the findings of scientific endeavour or not. It is our choice to let those discoveries impact our lives or not. It is not the choice of science. The issue you have is with corporations, with governments, with individual's greens and desires. Not with science.

"In the end, attempting to shield attack science, as such, reminds that some have not thought the issue through."