The suit, filed in United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, describes in detail how six EPA employees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical School intentionally pumped what they termed “lethal” amounts of diesel exhaust, specifically small particulate matter termed “PM2.5,” directly into the lungs of human volunteers who were not properly advised of the risks.
“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,” said ATI Environmental Law Center Director Dr. David Schnare.
Dr. Schnare was previously a 34-year EPA attorney and holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Management from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Master of Science in Public Health-Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina, where the experiments were conducted.
“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.”
Scientific assessments of PM2.5 conducted in 2004 and 2009 by the EPA determined there is no safe level of exposure. Nevertheless, the EPA pumped it directly into the lungs of humans, including an obese volunteer and a volunteer with chronic asthma.
The EPA violated numerous federal laws by failing to properly inform volunteers of the risks or that the EPA has previously determined their level of exposure to PM2.5 was potentially lethal.
Additionally, the experiments violate federal laws requiring the potential benefits to the subjects outweigh the risks to the subjects.
Also, federal law requires volunteers in medical studies to be fully informed of any “reasonably foreseeable risks or discomforts to the subjects. [45 CFR 46.116 and 40 CFR 26.116 (a)(2)]
A review of the consent forms by Dr. John Dale Dunn, a policy advisor to the American Council on Science and Health, confirms subjects were not properly informed of the risks or that their exposure was potentially lethal.
Additionally, federal law prohibits medical experiments on humans imposing risks that are not reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits. [45 CFR 46.111 and 40 CFR 26.111(a)(2)] Those laws prohibit including possible long-range effects of applying knowledge gained the research when weighing risks and benefits.
The EPA admits there is no potential benefit to directly inhaling diesel fumes.
Dr. Dunn called EPA’s human experimentation “scandalously unethical and immoral” and said “There can be no further tolerance of this misconduct.”
The suit, ATI v. EPA, names EPA, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson as defendants. It seeks to immediately halt the experiments, halt any similar experiments, to declare the EPA did not provide sufficient information to victims, to halt expenditures for the study, to suspend use of the UNC Medical IRB unit, to prohibit the EPA from using information from the study and to suspend implantation of any rules under the Clean Air Act to control fine particulate matter until it is ensured they are not based on information gathered from illegal medical experiments.