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Examiner Local Editorial: EPA accused of illegal human experimentation

A federal lawsuit filed last Friday makes shocking allegations that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency engaged in human experimentation that violated its own scientific and ethical standards -- not to mention federal law and the Nuremberg Code.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, accuses the EPA of paying 41 study participants (some elderly or suffering from asthma, hypertension or metabolic syndrome) $12 an hour to breathe concentrated diesel exhaust piped in directly from an idling truck parked outside EPA's facility in Chapel Hill, N.C., for up to two hours during a series of experiments dating back to 2004. The human guinea pigs included an obese 58-year-old woman who had to be hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat before the experiment was over and an asthmatic student then attending the University of North Carolina.

According to the lawsuit, the agency charged with protecting Americans from environmental hazards deliberately exposed dozens of vulnerable people to concentrations of "fine particulate matter" 21 times greater than its own permissible limit, even though it claims there is no safe level of exposure. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson even testified before Congress last September that breathing in such particulates is "directly causal to dying sooner than you should."

David Schnare, a former EPA scientist, policy analyst and enforcement attorney who now heads the American Tradition Institute's Environmental Law Center and filed the lawsuit on its behalf, pointedly noted that the "EPA failed to adequately inform project participants that the pollution they will inhale imposes a risk to their health and there is no benefit [to them] whatever."

Steve Milloy, a lawyer and Johns Hopkins-trained biostatistician, first learned about the EPA's bizarre human experimentation last year after reading about it in a government-supported scientific journal. He broke the story on his JunkScience.com blog after thousands of documents he received under the Freedom of Information Act confirmed that EPA employees "personally ordered human subjects be placed into a gas chamber and exposed to a lethal gas" that is sometimes used to commit suicide.

"On every level, they completely disregarded sacrosanct standards on human experimentation emanating from what the Nazis did during World War II and [the] Tuskegee [syphilis scandal]," Milloy told The Examiner. "This should not have been approved under any circumstances."

The crazy part is that same agency accused of paying unwitting subjects to suck in diesel exhaust fumes is also trying to redefine dust on farms and rainwater in Fairfax County as "pollutants" to further its increasingly wacky left-wing agenda.