The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being strongly encouraged to overhaul its guidelines for human test subjects after an investigation found that many of the people signed up to test the impact of pollutants for the agency were not always told about the risks of heavy exposure, which include cancer and death.
Federal law allows the EPA to perform human testing in an effort to regulate potentially harmful pollutants. In a review of five studies conducted in 2010 and 2011, the EPA inspector general determined that, for the most part, the agency “followed applicable regulations” when it exposed 81 test subjects to “concentrated airborne particles or diesel exhaust emissions.”
But there seemed to be inconsistencies in the consent forms the test subjects signed. Some did not give the full range of potential risks associated with heavy exposure.
One of the five studies gave information on the “upper range of the pollutant” involved in the study, and just two studies warned subjects about the “risk of death for older individuals with cardiovascular disease.” And, consent forms for two studies using diesel exhaust “did not include the potential cancer effects of long-term exposure.”
Individuals who signed up to be test subjects in the five studies reviewed were offered payment ranging from $950 to $3,700.
The EPA defended its work, arguing that no one has died as a result of the tests. However, several adverse events were reported in the studies that the inspector general reviewed. Those incident reports included migraine headaches, cardiac arrhythmias and decreased lung function.
The agency also promised to “enhance” its language in the future to better inform human test subject of potential risks.
Source: Fox News