Numerous experiments which are performed on human test subjects in the United States are considered unethical, because they are performed without the knowledge or informed consent of the test subjects. Such tests have been performed throughout American history, but some of them are ongoing. The experiments include the exposure of humans to many chemical and biological weapons (including infections with deadly or debilitating diseases), human radiation experiments, injections of toxic and radioactive chemicals, surgical experiments, interrogation and torture experiments, tests which involve mind-altering substances, and a wide variety of other experiments. Many of these tests are 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.
Many of these experiments violated US law. Some others were sponsored by government agencies or rogue elements thereof, including the Centers for Disease Control, the United States military, and the Central Intelligence Agency, or they were sponsored by private corporations which were involved in military activities. The human research programs were usually highly secretive and performed without the knowledge or authorization of Congress, 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.
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