A US government program secretly injected people with plutonium

The horrors of the nuclear age, in terms of exploding reactors and nuclear bombs, are well known. Behind the well-publicized threat of mass death lies a secret history of nuclear projects being used to destroy individuals. In the late 1940s, United States citizens were injected with plutonium without their knowledge.

In early 1945, Ebb Cade, a worker at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility, got into a car wreck. He survived, but was bed bound with a broken arm and a broken leg. When doctors interviewed him, they ascertained that the fifty-three-year-old African American man was otherwise perfectly healthy, eating well, drinking well, and had no history of serious illness. And so, having obtained a healthy subject, on April 10th his doctors secretly injected him with 4.7 micrograms of plutonium. Who exactly ordered the injection, and who exactly administered it, has never been determined, with the most likely candidates all contradicting each other.

What is certain is that no one administered the dose for the man’s health. Although radium was still being touted by unscrupulous companies to the masses as a health tonic, enough people had gotten cancer and radiation sickness that any scientists knew that radiation was bad news. Since the beginning of the Manhattan Project, tests had been done to see how plutonium isotopes affected living beings. Animals had been fed and injected with the element, and their subsequent health problems were noted. When a scientist working on separating isotopes of plutonium had gotten a face full of gas, his stomach was pumped, to get out any plutonium he had swallowed, and his face was thoroughly scrubbed.

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