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Poisoning Black Children

Edited because, I’m sorry, I forgot TW: medical racism and exploitation, child abuse.


I just want to make sure that we’re all aware that twenty years ago, decades after the Tuskegee syphilis “experiment,” scientists affiliated with Johns Hopkins partnered with slumlords in order to deliberately cause lead poisoning in black toddlers from impoverished families to experiment with cheaper methods of cleaning up lead paint.

I first read about this three years ago, when the parents filed a class action suit.  I couldn’t think about anything else for days.  I couldn’t sleep.  These scientists deliberately poisoned children.  They lured families in with unusually low rents.  They monitored the kids’ blood lead levels.  And they didn’t do anything to help when those levels climbed and climbed.

This “study” passed Johns Hopkins board of ethics.

When I first found about this, I maintained that if one of these parents decided that a civil suit was bullshit, and instead decided to cut the throats of each and every person with knowledge of what was happening–including that damn ethics board, I would raise money for a legal defense, or a plane ticket to a country without an extradition agreement.  Because this is one of the most horrifying things I can imagine.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be one of those parents, having tried and tried to what was best for my family and  children, and then to find out that I had been bamboozled, that I was complicit in my own child’s poisoning, all so slumlords could save a few bucks.

Black people, poor people, Native Americans, have real reasons for being suspicious of US medical care.  Centuries of being experimented on–of having one’s children experimented on–will do that.

As far as I know, the case is on-going.  I can’t find any reference to a verdict.

8 thoughts on Poisoning Black Children

  1. Experimental flu shots were used on Native kids when I lived in Arizona.

    How do people fucking sleep? How do we allow this as human beings?

  2. One of the more disgusting things I’ve read in a very long time. Even if the authors of the study did have “good intentions,” you know what they say about the road to hell.

  3. This happens in Canada as well, to aboriginal kids in schools. Googling will only yalk about a case 60 years ago but my prof says there is proof out there that its still happening.

    1. Sadly, I think its that people see others with different (i.e. darker) skin tones than themselves as so very different that they hardly seem like people. Of course, economics plays into it, too. Some people don’t bother to stop and imagine what those parents would feel, because they don’t really think of those parents and their children as the some sort of beings, with the same sort of emotions as themselves. It is disgusting and terrible and makes me want to start my own moon colony with a very strict morality test for admission.

  4. This is so foul. I’m getting that feeling I had when I found out the actual content of Pavlov’s experiments last year (a full 18 years after learning about Pavlov in primary school, where the work was presented as benign) and about Henrietta Lacks a few years before that.

    1. I have no idea what Pavlov actually did, and I’ve decided that I want to remain in that state. For the love of God, please do not elaborate.

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