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May 29, 2020 - Interesting Engineering

Nuclear Guinea Pigs: Radiation Experiments Performed on US Citizens

Nuclear Guinea Pigs: Radiation Experiments Performed on US Citizens
RadiationFile Photo / © Photabulous!

During the Cold War, the US conducted experiments with radioactive substances on its citizens.

In a dark corner of U.S. history lies the unfortunate fact that between 1944 and 1974, three U.S. agencies — the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the Department of Defense, and the National Institutes of Health — conducted more than 4,000 secret radiation experiments on U.S. citizens, including children. 

Between April 1945 and July 1947, in experiments performed at hospitals in Rochester, New York, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Chicago, Illinois, and San Francisco, California, subjects were injected with various types of radioactive substances. Eighteen subjects were injected with plutonium, six with uranium, five with polonium, and at least one with americium.

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