1998: MIT and Quaker Oats Co. agreed last week to pay $1.85 million to children at the Walter E. Fernald State School who were subjects of nutrition studies during the 1940s and 1950s as part of an out of court settlement. The students were fed breakfast cereals laced with minute amounts of radioactive iron and calcium tracers. Children were encouraged to take part in the testing with promises of gifts or trips to Red Sox games.
Fernald had been officially designated as a school for retarded children, although some of the residents at the time of the experiment were not retarded.
Following the declassification of federal records on post-war radiation experiments in 1993, a state task force investigating postwar radiation experiments throughout Massachusetts found children at Fernald were used in experiments without the informed consent of parents. A class action suit against MIT and Quaker Oats was filed by former students in December 1995.