The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is coming under fire for conducting experiments in which they expose humans to high levels of potentially lethal pollutants.
The group of people tested on includes the elderly and those with health issues such as asthma and heart problems. The EPA did not inform participants of the extent of the risks of cancer and death.
The five experiments were conducted in 2010 and 2011.
In two studies, participants were exposed to high levels of diesel exhaust and ozone. In three studies, people were exposed to high levels of Particulate Matter (PM). PM particles are a combination of “harmful solid and liquid particles” that can get into people’s respiratory system and lead to death after just short-term exposure.
Notably, the EPA has publicly warned against the dangers of PM and operates under the assumption that PM is deadly.
Take, for example, former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson’s warning to Congress on Sept. 22, 2011: “Particulate matter causes premature death. It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should.” Jackson even likened the impact of reducing particulate matter to healthy levels to that of “finding a cure for cancer in our country.”
The extent of these very dangers, however, seems to have been downplayed during the studies. This is a contradiction that is all the more alarming when considering that many of the participants with health issues were exposed to levels of pollutants up to 50 times greater than the EPA says is safe for humans.
“This lack of warning about PM,” the Inspector General (IG) reported, “is also different from the EPA’s public image about PM.”
Although the EPA did get consent forms from 81 people in these fives studies, a report conducted by the IG showed that “exposure risks were not always consistently represented.”
Furthermore, only one of the five studies’ consent forms “provided the subject with information on the upper range of the pollutant” they would be exposed to. Even more alarmingly, only two of the five studies alerted participants of the risk of death that older individuals with cardiovascular disease would face.
While no one was killed during the test, the EPA ordered one test subject – a 58-year-old obese woman with medical problems – to go to the hospital in October 2010. Other problems developed by test subjects included one case of a persistent cough and two cases of cardiac arrhythmias.
Last year, Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter criticized the EPA’s actions in picking and choosing “scientific ‘facts’ to support their overreaching agenda.”
“It’s alarming how the EPA is purposefully and blatantly ignoring an ongoing investigation of the legality and therefore scientific legitimacy of the use of human testing.”