The Dioxin Experiments
- Year(s) Conducted: 1960s
- Nation Involved: The United States of America
During the Vietnam War, the U.S. began using a biological weapon known as Agent Orange. Yet they worried about the long-term effects. Dr. Albert Kligman was given a $10,000 grant to study numerous chemicals on behalf of Dow Corning, Johnson & Johnson, and of course, the U.S. Army. They wanted to see how human skin reacted to harsh chemicals, which they referred to as “hardening.” They had him test many things, but hidden in the chemicals to test was Dioxin (the main ingredient in Agent Orange). In 1981, six years after the Vietnam War ended, all of his notes were said to have been destroyed.
However, we know from those involved that he tested out chemicals on prisoners from Holmesburg Prison in Pennsylvania. This included Dioxin, which the Army had already been exposing the Vietnamese and its own people to. The government wanted to know what would happen to those they sprayed. To speed up research on this, Kligman injected prisoners with doses 468 times the recommended safe dose of Dioxin for them to take in. The U.S. eventually began sending payouts to American soldiers who were affected by Agent Orange as well as their children.