EPA Testing Dangerous Pollutants on Human Beings

by Jen Alic | OilPrice.com  |  published on November 23, 2012


Want to know how dangerous pollutants are to your health? For $12 an hour, you can find out directly.

In the aftermath of US presidential elections and corporate fears of looming environmental regulations that could affect their bottom line, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under attack for conducting dangerous experiments on human beings.

Over the past decade, the EPA has apparently been paying hundreds of people $12 an hour for the privilege of exposing them to high levels of air pollutants like diesel exhaust and PM2.5 particulate matter in an operation run at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine.

A lawsuit has been filed in the federal court, charging the EPA with conducting illegal and potentially lethal experiments of hundreds of financially vulnerable people.

According to an EPA testimony before Congress in 2011, particulate matter—a key component of diesel exhaust fumes–causes premature death. “It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should.”

In addition: “If we could reduce particulate matter to levels that are healthy we would have an identical impact to finding a cure for cancer.”

Apparently, however, test subjects were not apprised of the exact risk involved. While the EPA has dramatized the dangers of PM2.5 exposure before Congress, with its test subjects, the message has been toned down to warn of the potential of airway irritation, coughing or shortness of breath. The courts will have to determine whether test subjects were sufficiently briefed on the risks.

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