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PICKET: Lawsuit filed against EPA over pollution experiments on humans

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UPDATE - 9/26/12 : Mr. Milloy sent me the following in response to the EPA’s statement:

The alleged “independent” safety and ethics evaluation is conducted by the University of North Carolina (UNC) for EPA on a contract basis.

In addition to UNC being an EPA contractor (ka-ching), the EPA extramural grants database indicates that the EPA has given UNC $33,602,103 for 92 projects (ka-ching,ka-ching).

UNC documents indicate that UNC received from EPA $8,252,644.45 in 2004;$4,586,728.98 in 2005; $8,884,433.00 in 2006; and $5,696,188.32 in 2010. Documents for other years could not be found.

We report. You decide. Does that sound “independent” to you?

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UPDATE - 4:30 PM EST: The Environmental Protection Agency has sent me the following e-mail statement responding to the lawsuit Mr. Milloy has filed against them:

EPA is one of 15 federal departments and agencies that conduct or support research with human subjects under the governance of the Common Rule. All human exposure studies conducted by EPA scientists are independently evaluated for safety and ethics, and the results are peer-reviewed. The complaint has been referred to the Department of Justice and further inquiry regarding litigation should be directed to them.

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A follow up from a Water Cooler post back in AprilSteven Milloy, a biostatistician and securities lawyer who runs the site junkscience.com, is suing the Environmental Protection Agency over what he discovered through evidence from a Freedom of Information Act request. According to the National Legal and Policy Center, Milloy found out through the FOIA that the EPA was conducting “ disturbing experiments that exposed humans to inhalable particulates the agency has said are deadly.”: NLPC reports: (bolding is mine)

The trials, which were carried out at EPA’s Human Studies Facility at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, exposed subjects to fine particulate matter (called “PM2.5”) at extremely elevated levels for up to two hours at a time. EPA’s Web site on particulate matter and its 2009 “Summary of PM2.5 Risk Estimates,” stated, “an examination of cause-specific risk estimates found that PM2.5 risk estimates for cardiovascular deaths are similar to those for all-cause deaths….” Also, in July 2011 EPA stated in the Federal Register announcement of its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that “a recent EPA analysis estimated that 2005 levels of PM2.5 and ozone were responsible for between 130,000 and 320,000 PM2.5-related and 4,700 ozone-related premature deaths….”

And to cap it all, last September EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “Particulate matter causes death. It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should.”

But in descriptions more tangible than statistical, the experiments conducted by EPA’s North Carolina doctors sound like something out of World War II-era Germany.

“EPA obtained their PM2.5 from a diesel truck,” explained Dr. David Schnare, a former EPA litigator who is now director of American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center, which filed the lawsuit in Virginia. “It is difficult to overstate the atrocity of this research.


“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.”

Among other things, the lawsuit demands that:

· EPA to be barred from conducting illegal life-and health-threatening experiments

· A formal investigation of EPA’s human experiments

· Regulations based on the illegal experiments to be suspended pending an investigation

“In the context of rules established after scientific horrors of World War II and the Tuskegee syphilis experiments,” Milloy said in a press release announcing the lawsuit, “the notion that EPA would pipe high levels of PM2.5 and diesel exhaust into the lungs of unhealthy people to see what would happen is simply appalling.”

In June Milloy filed a complaint with the North Carolina Medical Board that accused three doctors in the state – two employed by EPA (Dr. Andrew Ghio and Dr. Wayne Cascio) and one by the University of North Carolina (Dr. Eugene Chung) – of intentionally exposing test subjects to PM2.5. In his letter he outlined the details of EPA’s outrageous activities to the board’s president.

“During these experiments,” Milloy wrote, “the study subjects were intentionally exposed to airborne fine particulate matter (“PM2.5”) at levels ranging from 41.54 micrograms per cubic meter to 750.83 micrograms per cubic meter for periods of up to two hours.”

Milloy alleged the three doctors violated EPA standards of conduct in human research as well as the Hippocratic Oath. Based upon information he obtained via FOIA, Milloy learned that experiments were conducted on 41 subjects. Of those, one experienced atrial fibrillation – a 58-year-old obese woman with a history of health problems and family history of heart disease – and another developed an elevated heart rate. Both returned to normal breathing and heartbeat function within two hours, according to an EPA report.

 

 

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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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