The explosive findings, unveiled in a recently released internal EPA report, show that the increasingly out-of-control agency exposed vulnerable people to wildly high levels of possibly fatal pollutants without even warning them of the risks. The purpose: justifying more regulations.
According to an EPA inspector general report about the controversial experiments, the lawless agency, itself created by an unconstitutional executive order, conducted what critics and lawmakers say were deeply unethical tests from 2010 to 2011. Among the greatest concerns is the fact that the experiments were targeting elderly Americans and individuals with serious health problems such as asthma or heart issues. Children have also been subject to such tests, according to news reports.
Perhaps even more alarming, though, according to critics, is that the EPA conducted the controversial tests without even informing most of its human “guinea pigs” about the potential dangers, which the agency says can include cancer or even death. “Evidence suggests that at least some human study subjects would like to know if a study involves risk of death, even if the risk is very small,” notes the inspector general report about the controversial experiments, prompted by congressional requests to investigate.
The internal document claims the agency followed “applicable regulations,” overall, but failed to fully inform all its human subjects of the possible risks on most of its consent forms. In most cases, the EPA also downplayed the severity of the exposure to concentrated diesel fumes and other pollution it was plotting to test on its subjects in dangerous levels. The more than 80 participants were paid between $950 and $3,700 by taxpayers.
As part of the human experimentation, the agency exposed the at-risk Americans to dangerous levels of pollutants — in some cases, as much as 50 times higher than what the EPA claims are safe exposure levels. “Further, the EPA did not include information on long-term cancer risks in its diesel exhaust studies’ consent forms,” the inspector general report continued, adding that an EPA manager involved in the experiments considered the long-term risks “minimal.” Despite its claims, though, the agency was almost certainly hoping to exploit the results of the tests to justify more executive power grabs.
Lawmakers, though, who have been getting an earful from constituents, expressed fury over the latest scandal. “When justifying a job-killing regulation, EPA argues exposure to particulate matter is deadly, but when they are conducting experiments, they say human exposure studies are not harmful,” said U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, after the report was released.
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Photos: EPA diesel (top left) and ozone study chambers.