The Environmental Protection Agency is under attack from all sides yet again, this time for conducting dangerous and potentially even deadly experiments on unwitting human test subjects in what analysts say was a transparent bid to advance the Obama administration’s radical agenda by executive decree. 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.
Vitter, a leading critic of the EPA’s machinations — often justified using what he calls “secret science” — said the latest scandal was typical of the agency and its operations. “This is a prime example of how EPA handpicks what scientific information and uncertainties they use to support their overreaching agenda,” he explained. “Discounting the risk involved to human study subjects violates proper scientific protocols and fundamental ethics.”
Just last month, Republicans on the Senate Environment Committee released a scathing report dubbed “EPA's Playbook Unveiled: A Story of Fraud, Deceit, and Secret Science” that exposes extremely serious issues at the rogue agency. However, while pressure is building for lawmakers to rein in the EPA, it continues to issue more economy-destroying regulations and power grabs, often using scams, fraud, and lawlessness to advance the administration’s radical agenda.
In the controversial experiments in question, enclosed chambers at the University of North Carolina were pumped full of dangerous levels of pollutants with human test subjects inside. “Diesel exhaust is a complex mixture of more than 40 toxic air contaminants,” the inspector general report explains. “These include 19 known or suspected carcinogens, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and 1,3-butadiene.”
A 2006 EPA assessment, meanwhile, said that short-term exposure to such chemicals was associated with “mortality and morbidity.” The EPA also classifies diesel exhaust as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans by inhalation.” For the purposes of issuing new regulations, those risks are major, but for the purposes of informing its human test subjects, apparently they were not much of a concern.
While the agency said nobody died from its 2010 and 2011 tests, several adverse events were reported among participants including migraines, decreased lung function, and cardiac arrhythmia — almost certainly what the EPA was hoping for in its quest to justify for more regulations. However, even though it knew of the potential dangers at low levels, it failed to properly disclose those risks to all study participants.
House Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun M.D. (R-Ga.), another liberty-minded critic of the out-of-control EPA, blasted the agency after the inspector general report was released. “It is abhorrent for EPA to be conducting these human experiments without providing robust information and notification to the patients about the risks of death and following the strictest protocols,” he said in a statement.
“While the EPA champions protecting human health, in one case, EPA doubled the amount of particulate matter it was exposing individuals to without fully informing the participants or all the proper ethical review boards,” explained Rep. Broun, who is also a medical doctor. “This blatant disregard for the safety and well-being of others is despicable, and the proper steps must be taken to ensure that such carelessness does not occur again.”
Making matters even worse, according to critics and lawmakers, is the story behind the sought-after regulations. Much of the development of the EPA’s regulatory regime surrounding particulate matter, the subject being tested, was led by disgraced former senior EPA official, climate alarmist and brazen criminal John Beale — who recently became a convicted felon after his monumental frauds against U.S. taxpayers were exposed.
Ironically, perhaps, at the same time the EPA was experimenting on vulnerable Americans without properly informing them of the risks, agency bosses were simultaneously hyperventilating about those same risks to lawmakers and the broader public in a ham-handed effort to build support for its increasingly radical and draconian deluge of more regulations. Leading the charge was disgraced former Obama EPA boss Lisa Jackson, who resigned amid the stench of multiple scandals surrounding alleged criminal activity and scams aimed at ripping off taxpayers while imposing more draconian, unconstitutional regulations on the economy.
“Particulate matter causes premature death,” Jackson said in 2011 testimony to Congress, referring to the same thing being tested at the time on Americans who were not fully informed of the risks. “It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should. If we could reduce particulate matter to healthy levels it would have the same impact as finding a cure for cancer in our country.”
The inspector general report, which, like most internal “investigations” appeared intended largely to cover for the agency in question, also offered some recommendations. “In the future, the EPA should include the long-term risk of cancer to potential subjects in its consent forms so study subjects can make the most informed decisions about whether to participate in a study,” the document said.
In response to the inspector general report, the agency released a statement defending its human experiments. It also claimed that the EPA “has internal guidelines in place that exceed those normally required by universities, industry and other government agencies conducting human studies research.” However, it said it would follow the advice offered in the report.
“EPA concurs with and is adopting the OIG's recommendations to ensure its policies and procedures are strengthened even further,” the statement continued. “All human exposure studies conducted by EPA scientists are independently evaluated for safety and ethics, and the results are peer-reviewed. EPA is committed to ensuring the protection of study participants.”
Of course, it would hardly be the first time that the EPA has been caught lying — along with its top officials. Even more concerning than the dangerous human experiments, the lies, the fraud, and the lawlessness, though, is the devastating impact the supposed “environmental” bureaucracy is having on American liberties, the U.S. Constitution, the separation of powers, property rights, and the struggling economy.
From lawless “climate” decrees and perpetually expanding its power at the expense of freedom to defrauding taxpayers with the infamous “sue and settle” scam, the EPA has become a rogue agency and a clear threat to America. Whether lawmakers will eventually rein it in or defund it remains to be seen, but with public outrage growing louder every day, members of Congress may soon be forced to act — or find another job.
Photos: EPA diesel (top left) and ozone study chambers
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at