The Environmental Protection Agency’s own inspector general has admitted that the agency didn’t tell human “guinea pigs” the potential dangers of breathing in diesel fumes in an experiment.
An inspector general’s report issued on March 31 verifies a story about the experiments Off the Grid News ran last year.
“The EPA has been conducting controlled exposure studies for about 40 years,” the inspector general’s report admitted. “In controlled exposure studies, human subjects are intentionally exposed to pollutants under controlled conditions.”
The EPA was responding to allegations that it had paid people to sit in a room and breathe in diesel fumes in an experiment designed to determine the effects of air pollution on human beings. The allegations were made in a lawsuit brought by an organization called the Energy & Environmental Legal Institute in 2012.
Among the people in the experiments were those with health problems such as asthma.
“It is difficult to overstate the atrocity of this research,” said David Schnare, one of the attorneys who filed the suit. Here’s how his organization described the research that was done at the EPA’s Human Studies Facility at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill:
EPA parked a truck’s exhaust pipe directly beneath an intake pipe on the side of a building. The exhaust was sucked into the pipe, mixed with some additional air and then piped directly into the lungs of the human subjects. EPA actually has pictures of this gas chamber, a clear plastic pipe stuck into the mouth of a subject, his lips sealing it to his face, diesel fumes inhaled straight into his lungs.
EPA’s ‘Gas Chamber’ Exposed
The inspector general’s report actually contains pictures of rooms that look like gas chambers. Schnare and others alleged that the EPA paid people $12 an hour to sit in the rooms and breathe in diesel fumes and other pollutants. In one experiment, they breathed in the same amount of pollutants in two hours that normally would be consumed in 24 hours in a smog-filled city.
The EPA’s own inspector general tried to make the facility sound more acceptable.
“The facility has the capability to deliver gaseous pollutants at precise concentrations across a broad range of atmospheric conditions. Human subjects research exposure systems used by EPA include two small (36 square feet) and two large (300 square feet) study chambers and one neurophysiological test room.”
The report indicates that 81 people were exposed to airborne particles and diesel exhaust in the chambers in five studies in 2010 and 2011. The report also found that the EPA did not tell those people about some of the potential risks from the exposure in consent forms.
“We found that exposure risks were not always consistently represented,” the report stated. “Further, the EPA did not include information on long-term cancer risks in its diesel exhaust studies’ consent forms.”
Several of the test subjects reported having health problems ranging from migraine headaches to heart problems during the experiments, Fox News reported. Doctors were present during the test.
What The Test Subjects Were Breathing
The tests were designed to assess the effect of diesel exhaust and fine particulate matter tiny pieces of debris in air pollution on human health. The amount of pollution in the chambers was supposed to mimic smog in polluted cities. Here’s how the inspector general’s report described diesel exhaust:
“Diesel exhaust is a complex mixture of more than 40 toxic air contaminants. These include 19 known or suspected carcinogens (cancer causing agents), such as benzene, formaldehyde and 1,3-butadiene.”
In particular, the EPA’s scientists wanted to ascertain the effects of ultrafine particles that can reach deep into human lungs and cause health problems. The report also listed some of the health impacts from a mix of fine particulate matter and diesel exhaust. These included:
- Aggravated lung disease
- Asthma attacks
- Acute bronchitis
- Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections
- Lung inflammation
- Heart attacks in people with heart disease
- Mortality (death)
- Lung and other cancers
The report said the “lack of warning” about the pollutants stands in stark contrast to the EPA’s own “public image” about the same pollutants – that is, they’re deadly.