According to the news of The Guardian, Taiwo Owatemi, MP for the city of Coventry, asked for a new legal investigation into the research in which immigrant women who had just arrived in the UK in the 1960s and had little knowledge of English were used as subjects.
Professor at Cardiff University The research, led by Peter Elwood and funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), was first revealed in the 1995 documentary “Lethal Experiments.”
According to the information confirmed by the MRC, in the study published in 1969, 21 Indian immigrant women were given “chapati”, which contains the isotope Iron-59, which emits gamma and beta radiation.
In a study on iron deficiency in South Asian populations, it was reported that migrant women who consumed bread were then taken to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) in Oxfordshire to calculate the amount of iron their bodies absorb based on their radiation levels.
Several participating women, whose identities were identified in the years when the experiment first came to light, stated that they were not aware of the use of radioactive isotopes in the experiment and did not give their consent for the experiment.
MP Owatemi noted that he would bring the research to the agenda and request a legal investigation when the House of Commons opens in September, and said, “My primary concern is with the women used as subjects in this research and their families.”
Owatemi said it was “appalling” that there was no long-term control mechanism over the health of the participants after the study.
Stating that they are trying to reach the women in the research by working with academics from the University of Warwick, Owatemi stated that they aim to provide the women in question to receive the support they need by guiding them.
The MRC’s 1998 investigation reported that the health risk posed by the study was “fairly low” and that the radiation levels in the participants were “equivalent to natural radiation exposure in a single chest X-ray taken at that time, or about three months.”
In the investigation report in question, it was noted that the research team often asked the children of the participants to translate, “the word ‘radiation’ may not have an equivalent in the languages and dialects spoken by women” and the translator of the research could not be reached.
While the MRC emphasized that research practices, ethics and regulation have been improved since the date of the investigation, Cardiff University did not make a statement on the subject.