British Member of Parliament to investigate the study whereby women of Indian descent were fed ‘radioactive chapatti’
British Member of Parliament to investigate the study whereby women of Indian descent were fed “radioactive chapati”. Image source: IANS News
London August 27: A member of the British Parliament has called for an investigation into a 1969 medical study of iron absorption, according to which 21 women of Indian descent, many of them pregnant, were fed chapati bread containing a radioactive isotope in a town in central England.
Tayo Awateme, the Labor MP for Coventry North West, said this week she would call a parliamentary debate on the issue in September, followed by a “full legal inquiry”.
“I am appalled and concerned by the information that has been shared in connection with the 1969 Chapati Study of South Asian women from Coventry. My primary concern is for the women and families of those who were the subjects of this study,” Awatemy said in a statement. .
In a feeding trial funded by the British Medical Research Council (MRC) in 1969, chapati containing iron 59 (an isotope of iron with a gamma-beta emitter) was delivered every morning to women who were then recent immigrants to Coventry.
According to local media reports, most of them are from Punjab and Gujarat, and speak very little English.
According to Awatemy, a researcher from the University of Warwick who is seeking to identify these women, she was told that their consent was not asked for and they were not given any appropriate information at the time they took part in the trial.
She said: “This is horrifying, and I am deeply troubled that a community here in Coventry has been targeted for research without them being able to give informed consent.”
The researchers conducted the study after they suspected that South Asian diets were responsible for the widespread iron deficiency in these women.
These women were then taken to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Oxfordshire where their radiation levels were measured after eating chapati.
The BBC reported that an investigative report was issued in 1998 in response to a 1995 Channel 4 documentary that raised concerns about the ability of participants, including pregnant women, to consent to trials.
“A serious attempt was made to effectively inform the study participants. (However) it is possible that despite the best intentions of the research team, the full details of the study were not assimilated by the participating women,” the investigative report read.
It was reported in 1995 that around 21 women had taken part in the trial, which was conducted by Professor Peter Ellwood of Cardiff University and funded by the Medical Research Centre.
The Labor MP said: “I am equally appalled that there appears to have been no follow-up study of the disease by Dr Ellwood on research participants to look at the long-term medical effects on women.”
In a statement posted online on Wednesday, the MRC said it remains committed to the highest standards, including “a commitment to participation, openness, and transparency.”
“These cases were considered after the documentary was broadcast in 1995 and an independent investigation was set up at that time to examine the questions raised,” the MRC said.
Awatemy said she would call for a discussion of this matter as soon as possible after parliament returned in September, followed by a full legal inquiry into how this was allowed to happen.
In addition, you’ll wonder why “the Migrant Resources Committee’s report recommendation to identify women was not followed up at all.”
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the WBSETCL team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.