This Massachusetts-based institution conducted gruesome experiments exposing residents to radioactive isotopes | Yana Bostongirl
Previously called the Experimental School for the Teaching and Training of Idiot Children, then the Massachusetts School for Idiot Children, the institution was renamed the Walter E Fernald Developmental Center. It was located in Waltham, Massachusetts, and is considered the “poster” of the American eugenics movement in the 1920s.
Founded in Boston by Samuel Gridley Howe in 1884, the institution was later moved to Waltham. The school was later renamed in honor of its third superintendent, Walter E Fernald, who was an advocate for eugenics. Eugenics is a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population, historically by excluding people and groups deemed inferior or favoring those deemed superior.
According to an article published on Wikipedia, it was revealed that the Quaker Oats company, in collaboration with MIT, conducted experiments exposing young men to tracer doses of radioactive isotopes between 1946 and 1953. The article lists the details following discovered by the US Department of Energy:
- The experiment was conducted in part by a researcher sponsored by the Quaker Oats Company.
- MIT nutrition professor Robert S. Harris led the experiment, which studied the absorption of calcium and iron.
- The boys were encouraged to join a “Science Club”, which offered larger portions of food, parties, and trips to Boston Red Sox baseball games.
- The 57 club members ate iron-fortified cereal and calcium-fortified milk for breakfast. In order to monitor absorption, several radioactive calcium tracers were administered orally or intravenously.
- Radiation levels in stool and blood samples would serve as dependent variables.
- In another study, 17 subjects received injections of iron supplements containing iron radioisotopes.
- Neither the children nor their parents have ever given sufficient informed consent to participate in a scientific study.
Additionally, there had been several reports of physical and sexual abuse, overcrowding and poor quality of education. The facility closed after the last resident left in 2014.