A LABOUR MP has called for an inquiry into a “horrifying” chapati study using south Asian women in Coventry.
Chapatis laced with a radioactive substance were fed to 20 south Asian women in 1969 to study iron absorption.
Although the research was aimed at tracking down how iron was absorbed in south Asian women to study anaemia in the population, there were concerns that the participants were not sufficiently informed about the content of the food. It was also feared that adequate consent was not obtained from the women.
Taiwo Owatemi, the MP for Coventry North West, said she was “disturbed that a community was “targeted” for the research without them being able to give “informed consent.”
She said a researcher from the University of Warwick is seeking to identify the women.
“From what I understand from speaking with the researcher and reading the reports, it seems that consent was not sought nor proper information given to the women at the time they took part in the experiment,” she said, describing it as “horrifying”.
Owatemi said she was “appalled” that there was no follow-up morbidity study on the participants of the research to find out the long-term medical effects on them.
“This is in direct contrast to another research project that was undertaken on women in Caerphilly during the same period.”
She said she would call for a debate on the matter when parliament returns in September, followed by a full statutory inquiry into “how this was allowed to happen”.
The inquiry should also find out why the recommendation of a Medical Research Council report to identify the women was “never followed”, Owatemi said.