1940's: The U.S. government injected 12 human guinea pigs with uranium and plutonium without their knowledge as part of a Cold War-era radiation experiment. The 12 victims were injected during the 1940s -- 11 with plutonium, and one with uranium -- to see how the human body would react to an atomic bombing. The tests sprang from efforts to develop atomic weapons. At the time, scientists claimed that the people were terminally ill anyway and would not survive 10 years. But a number of them lived longer, and the plutonium is said to have caused urinary tract infections and painful osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones.
1940's: In an exceptionally large study at Vanderbilt University in the 1940s, approximately 820 poor, pregnant Caucasian women were administered tracer doses of radioactive iron. Vanderbilt worked with the Tennessee State Department of Health, and the research was partly funded by the Public Health Service. Today, most women take iron supplements during pregnancy. This experiment provided the scientific data needed to determine the nutritional requirements for iron during pregnancy
1940: Four hundred prisoners in Chicago are infected with Malaria in order to study the effects of new and experimental drugs to combat the disease. Nazi doctors later on trial at Nuremberg cite this American study to defend their own actions during the Holocaust.
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