America's Deep, Dark Secret
February 21, 2012 10:57 AM Subscribe
posted by Blasdelb (37 comments total)
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"One of the deep, dark secrets of America's past has finally come to light. Starting in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of American children were warehoused in institutions by state governments.
" An early part of the American experiment with Eugenics, the Walter E. Fernald State School inspired scores of similar institutions across the country, and more recently, one of the definitive histories of the era
."We thought for a long time that we belonged there, that we were not part of the species. We thought we were some kind of, you know, people that wasn't supposed to be born," says Boyce.
And that was precisely the idea.
The Fernald School, and others like it, was part of a popular American movement in the early 20th century called the Eugenics movement. The idea was to separate people considered to be genetically inferior from the rest of society, to prevent them from reproducing.
Eugenics is usually associated with Nazi Germany, but in fact, it started in America. Not only that, it continued here long after Hitler's Germany was in ruins.
At the height of the movement - in the '20s and '30s - exhibits were set up at fairs to teach people about eugenics. It was good for America, and good for the human race. That was the message."
Fernald was also the site of human research involving exposure to radioisotopes
performed by researchers from Harvard and MIT, and sponsored by the Quaker Oats company, between 1946 and 1953 for which informed consent was never provided. From the linked report,
"In 1946, one study exposed seventeen subjects to radioactive iron. The second study, which involved a series of seventeen related subexperiments, exposed fifty-seven subjects to radioactive calcium between 1950 and 1953. It is clear that the doses involved were low and that it is extremely unlikely that any of the children who were used as subjects were harmed as a consequence. These studies remain morally troubling, however, for several reasons. First, although parents or guardians were asked for their permission to have their children involved in the research, the available evidence suggests that the information provided was, at best, incomplete. Second, there is the question of the fairness of selecting institutionalized children at all, children whose life circumstances were by any standard already heavily burdened."
The work produced the following studies,
STUDIES IN CALCIUM METABOLISM. THE FATE OF INTRAVENOUSLY INJECTED RADIOCALCIUM IN HUMAN BEINGS
"The effect of phytate and other food factors on iron absorption" (PDF)
THE DETERMINATION OF PLASMA VOLUME IN MAN WITH RADIOACTIVE CHROMIC CHLORIDE
STUDIES OF PLASMA VOLUME USING HUMAN SERUM ALBUMIN TAGGED WITH RADIOACTIVE IODINE131