Human Plutonium Injection Experiments
The Manhattan Project plutonium and health hazards discovered in 1941 by Glenn Seaborg and others at Berkeley, supported plutonium nuclear fission, a process that atoms of Split and published lot of energy. The plutonium has become an urgent material for a variety of the atomic bomb, uranium-235, the fissile isotopes of natural uranium was used in the type bomb others.
The first significant quantities of plutonium became available by January 1944. At that time, Seaborg warned of its potential health risks and proposed studies to learn from its immediate biological behavior. He was a key issue: the more material remained in the body, the more damage it could do. Hundreds of workers would soon be exposed to plutonium and exposure standards are needed. Overexposure is not only injured workers, it could compromise the privacy and disrupt production schedules.
About 10 percent of the supply of plutonium has been allocated for animals studies in January 1944. In the summer of this year, these studies have provided sufficient information on the retention of plutonium justify removal of several employees of Los Alamos, with previous record
exposure to further work with the hardware. Los Alamos had have been several accidental exposure of humans to plutonium, and the imminent prospect of working with much larger quantities increased the desire for even more information on metabolism.
Animal studies have shown that different species excreted early known amounts of plutonium at different rates. This meant that there was no accurate way to correlate the excretion data of animals humans. Consequently, the feeling grew among the staff of medical project to administer known amounts of plutonium at the man to take excretion data accurate. However, it was not until the winter 1944, Los Alamos Health Group staff has developed methods detect concentrations of tracer at the level of plutonium in feces. In February 1945, the group led by Louis Hempelmann and supervised by Wright Langham, used the procedure Workers of accidental ingestion of plutonium.
With a proven method to detect small amounts of plutonium in feces, Los Alamos staff met March 23, 1945, with Robert Colonel Hymer Friedell Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Engineer District (MED) to discuss “medical problems of this project and their relationship with the medical research program of the Manhattan District. “In a memorandum written three days after the meeting, Louis Hempelmann said that the Manhattan Project was invited to examine “a patient hospitalized two or Rochester Chicago be chosen for the injection of 1 to 10 micrograms of material] plutonium [and that the waste will be sent to this laboratory for analysis. “The Manhattan district has also been asked to help make arrangements for this experience “a marker for the man.” These arrangements have been made, and a medical officer MED administered the injection of plutonium first man, April 10 1945 at Oak Ridge Hospital.
Experiments, Part 1
How all injections have been coordinated or even if they were coordinated is unclear. After the test of Oak Ridge, injections were given to Billings Hospital at the University of Chicago April 26, 1945, and the University of California hospital San Francisco May 14, 1945. At the end of June, Manhattan Project entrepreneurs at the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital has developed a detailed plan for “fast (1 year) Completion follow-up studies of man. “These studies have been included plutonium, uranium, lead and radioactive polonium.
Over the coming months, this plan has been revised, and September 18, 1945, Wright Langham sent the latest version Colonel Stafford Warren, head of the Manhattan District Medical Division, noting that “you and the Colonel Friedell, will Of course, having the final say on whether or not the experiment will thanks in compliance with this plan. “Plutonium Rochester experimental protocol called for 10 subjects for admission to the
Strong Memorial Hospital Ward metabolism in groups of four month for two months and two for the third month.
After injection, samples of blood, urine and faeces should be Langham shipped to Los Alamos for analysis. Documents show that from October 1945 to July 1946, Rochester injected 11 patients. One patient later (designated as HP 11) died of pneumonia and other pre-existing conditions after six days Injection of 20 February. Samuel Bassett Rochester has described this experience as an “acute” that involve collection of feces, but this performance organs and other autopsy material which was sent to Los Alamos to study.
Upon notification of the HP 11, Langham said Bassett, “If you decide to make another terminal case, I suggest you use 50 micrograms [of] plutonium instead of 5. This would allow analysis of much smaller samples and do my job considerably easier. “Langham also said,” I just learned that Chicago is the scene of two experiments using 95 terminal micrograms each. I am reasonably certain that there would be no harm using larger amounts of material if you are sure that the case is one terminal. ”
Both experiments took place in Chicago’s Billings Hospital on December 27, 1945. Both patients died of preexisting disease shortly after injections of 94.91 micrograms of plutonium.
The experimental protocols exist for studies of Rochester. Langham and others who led the study also described in broad Terms how subjects were selected. In general, the choice fell on older people (13 of them were 45 years or more) limited life expectancy. (Ten of the 16 dead who were followed less than 10 years.) Four subjects did, however, live more than 20 years after the experiments.
Although several reports by other research appeared earlier, Langham and others at Los Alamos compiled the most full account of the plutonium injection experiments. They based its findings primarily on the Rochester study. Issued Los Alamos Report LA 1151 in September 1950, the distribution and The excretion of plutonium administered intravenously to humans describes the experiments, tabulated data on plutonium
metabolism, and derived an empirical formula for calculating plutonium retained from the analysis of urine. Although himself THE 1151
Experiments, Part 2
During the 1970s, Patricia W. Durbin, a biophysicist at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, revalued plutonium Langham excretion data. One reason could improve Durbin Langham results were unexpected given the availability of long-term survivors. During her research, she learned that they had submitted lived for 20 years after being injected. Thorough detective work revealed that four other subjects were also still alive in
early 1970s. With the approval of the ACS, the Centre’s support Radiobiology for the man to Argonne National Laboratory, and cooperation of the University of Rochester Strong Memorial The hospital, three of the four survivors were reviewed in 1973. Researchers collected and promptly published new data on the long-term modes of plutonium retention and excretion. Efforts to find and study these subjects survivors ultimately triggered controversy. In the time since the work had been done, the Government has therefore adopted requiring that the subjects give
informed consent as a condition of research. Questions have been raised if the subjects of plutonium consent for the original experiments or the 1973 follow-up examinations. Monitoring investigation resulted in two reports published in ACS internal August 1974. Both concluded that only one subject may have provided any kind of consent. The remaining 17 have participated little verifiable knowledge or experience of its risks.
In addition, reports in 1973 concluded that follow-up studies have been not done with the informed consent of subjects. Three subjects were not informed that they had been injected with plutonium experimental purposes, nor why they had been invited to return to hospital.
Although CEA has not publicly release these reports, the Agency successor, the Energy Research and Development Administration, has published a fact sheet on the issue in 1976. This the program has provided details on the experiments and briefly discussed results of the survey in 1974 ACS on informed consent.
The experiments on plutonium and the public
Publications based on studies of plutonium began to appear in medical literature since 1948. In several articles during the 1950s and early 1960s, Langham said the technique to measure plutonium excreted and returned to the validation Research on the metabolism of plutonium in humans. Some information However, remained secret for a number of years after.
The public has learned about the experiences in 1976, after ERDA issued to the sheet above. Several newspapers have carried stories focusing on the lack of informed consent and to raise questions about medical ethics, but the question seemed to arouse little public concern. Ten years later, a congressional committee issued a report criticizing the plutonium injections and approximately 30 other federal radiation experiments of man. Commonly known as the report of the subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey after J. Markey (D-Mass.), this document again stimulated Limited
media attention at the time.
What the scientific literature and other information on the experiments do not the names of substances their personal stories. This approach has been pursued by Eileen Welsome the Albuquerque Tribune, which in November 1993, published a series on the experiences and issues. The
the author had driven through government reports, scientific journals, and log files to reconstruct the facts on the experiences, including names and other personal details several subjects.
At a press conference in December 1993, Energy Secretary Hazel R. O’Leary has examined the experiences related to plutonium, in conjunction
with the release of more former classified information on a variety subjects. Under a new policy of openness, it also The Department is committed to reveal the full scope and details irradiation experiments of man by the Agency and its predecessors. The history of experiments have been widely national attention and led to public demands that the federal Government to provide full disclosure on the topics.
A year after hiring the secretary, the department located, declassified and made available many documents on injections of plutonium and other radiation of man experiences. Currently under consideration by the Advisory Committee radiation experiments on human and other, this information will provide the basis for a comprehensive analysis of these ethical studies.