December 29

1953: Dr. Lester Middlesworth injected 7 newborn babies with radioactive iodine

Dr. Lester Middlesworth of the University of Tennessee injected 7 newborn babies with radioactive iodine in an experiment sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission at a hospital treating low income people. Six of the babies were African American. Dr. Middlesworth lost track of the infants — no follow-up records were kept. Exposure to low-level radiation increases the risk of cancer. Similar experiments were conducted in Detroit; Omaha; Little Rock; and Iowa City. The published reports in medical journals such as Pediatrics, the American Journal of Diseases of Children and the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, document that scores of premature and normal, term infants — some only minutes or hours old — were injected or ingested radioactive iodine. (Chicago Tribune, 1993)

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