April 3, 2014
What: E&E Legal General Counsel and attorney who spearheaded litigation that exposed EPA’s PM 2.5 human experimentation, available to discuss EPA’s just released IG’s report
Where: Telephone & Skype interviews, in-studio or remote link-up in the Washington, D.C.-area
Who: Dr. David Schnare, General Counsel of the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), who spent thirty-three years working for the EPA.
On March 31, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an Inspector General’s Report, “Improvements to EPA Policies and Guidance Could Enhance Protection of Human Study Subjects,” which addresses the EPA’s conduct regarding using human subjects to test what the Agency termed “lethal” amounts of PM2.5 particular matter. The issue of EPA conducting such tests was made public through a suit filed by E&E Legal, under its former name, in September 2012.
Specifically, the federal lawsuit sought to stop illegal human medical experiments conducted by six EPA employees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical School who 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. The agency parked a running diesel truck outside of their UNC facility, attached a pipe to the truck’s exhaust, and ran the pipes inside to a lab (referred to as a “gas chamber” by the EPA), where a human test subject was placed at the other end breathing in the fumes through a gasmask type of apparatus.
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.
Federal law prohibits medical experiments on humans imposing risks that are not reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits. 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.
The suit named the EPA and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson as defendants. It sought 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 implementation 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.
While a federal court eventually dropped the case, citing a lack of jurisdictional authority to proceed, it received widespread coverage and congressional scrutiny. In October 2012, Senator James Inhofe (R – Okla.) asked that the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works immediately hold hearings to look into the Environmental Protection Agency’s practice of deliberately exposing vulnerable human test subjects to PM2.5 and diesel exhaust to which EPA’s public statements allege there is no safe level of exposure.
In March 2013, three North Carolina state senators dropped a bill aimed at halting EPA’s unethical practice of using human subjects to research the impact PM2.5. If passed, the law would make any person who violates it guilty of a felony, a serious crime that can carry a sentence of more than a year to nearly three years. The bill was a direct result of the publicity received about E&E Legal’s EPA PM2.5 human experimentation suit.
For more information on the suit, click here.