A suit filed in federal court charges the Environmental Protection Agency with conducting illegal and potentially lethal experiments on hundreds of financially needy people who were paid $12/hour without even informing them of risks. Based upon thousands of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, procedures undertaken since 2004 and continuing through the Obama administration exposed subjects at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine to very high levels of toxic air pollutants. Many of these subjects were already health-impaired, suffering from asthma, metabolic syndrome, and aging (up to 75 years old).
One of the pollutants was a fine particulate substance known as PM2.5, a major component of diesel exhaust which EPA had determined to be unsafe for inhalation at any level, particularly for health-impaired and elderly populations. The administration’s own Clean Air Scientific Advisory Council chairman, Jon Samet, stated that in a 2011 commentary published in the New England Journal of Medicine. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) reiterated EPA’s position on this in a February 2012 letter to EPA air chief, Gina McCarthy.
EPA has strictly regulated PM2.5 under its Clean Air Act since 1997. Those air quality standards costing multi-billions of dollars are being dramatically tightened. Two of the biggest new ones under its recently D.C. District Circuit Appeals Court-rejected Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury Air Toxics Standard, are heavily premised upon condemnation of PM2.5 as a killer. As EPA Administrator Jackson testified in Congress in September 2011, “…particulate [PM2.5] matter causes premature death. It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should.” She added, “If we could reduce particulate matter to levels that are healthy we would have an identical impact to finding a cure for cancer.”
So if this is the case, why did EPA fail to warn their test subjects that the substances they would be exposed to in high doses were so dangerous? While the administration has repeatedly told Congress and the public that PM2.5 can kill within hours of exposure, they only told them, for example, that “You may experience some minor degree of airway irritation, cough or shortness of breath or wheezing. These symptoms typically disappear two to four hours after exposure, but may last longer for particularly sensitive people.”
One such “sensitive person” is an obese woman with a history of heart disease. She had to be rushed to a hospital for an overnight stay after suffering a cardiac arrhythmia during an experiment. And although EPA attributed her heart problem to PM2.5 in a published report, no one ever bothered to warn subsequent subjects of cardiac arrhythmia risk.
Read more at Forbes. By Larry Bell.
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