unethical human experimentation in the united states.
Unethical human experimentation in the United States describes numerous experiments performed on human test subjects in the United States that have been considered unethical, and were often performed illegally, without the knowledge, consent, or informed consent of the test subjects. Such tests have occurred throughout American history, but particularly in the 20th century.
The experiments include: the deliberate infection of people with deadly or debilitating diseases, exposure of people to biological and chemical weapons, human radiation experiments, injection of people with toxic and radioactive chemicals, surgical experiments, interrogation and torture experiments, tests involving mind-altering substances, and a wide variety of others. Many of these tests were performed on children the sick, and mentally disabled individuals, often under the guise of “medical treatment”. In many of the studies, a large portion of the subjects were poor, racial minorities or prisoners.
Funding for many of the experiments was provided by United States government, especially the United States military, Central Intelligence Agency, or private corporations involved with military activities. The human research programs were usually highly secretive, and in many cases information about them was not released until many years after the studies had been performed.
The ethical, professional, and legal implications of this in the United States medical and scientific community were quite significant, and led to many institutions and policies that attempted to ensure that future human subject research in the United States would be ethical and legal. Public outrage in the late 20th century over the discovery of government experiments on human subjects led to numerous congressional investigations and hearings, including the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission, both of 1975 and the 1994 Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, among others.