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EPA Hid Cancer Risks from Study Participants

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Questions are being raised after a report revealed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to disclose cancer risks to volunteers used in research studies involving harmful pollutants.

The EPA recruited people for tests on pollutants in 2010 and 2011. The agency warned of dangers from diesel exhaust and tiny particles in its rules to cut pollution, but consent forms given out to the participants failed to mention cancer. The EPA said it didn’t mention the cancer because the agency considered the risks minimal from short-term exposure, according to the Office of Inspector General’s report.

The tactic left at least one lawmaker questioning the agency’s priorities

“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,” Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter said in a statement published by Bloomberg News.

Several republican lawmakers have accused the EPA of contradicting itself in explaining its policies and testing safety, and have called for the human testing to be shut down. The report stated that the EPA should “inform study subjects of any potential cancer risks of a pollutant to which they are being exposed,” Bloomberg News reported. The agency responded by vowing to improve its consent forms and create better plans for reacting to adverse events and unanticipated problems.

Within the last 10 years the EPA has conducted 13 studies of particulate matter and four studies on diesel exhaust at its North Carolina laboratory, according to Bloomberg News. Each study included a range of 20 to 40 people in a chamber where pollution is set to levels designed to mimic cities such as Los Angeles or New York. The participants’ blood, heart and lung functions are monitored for about two hours. The EPA believes long-term adverse effects to be unlikely because the tests are do not take place over an extended period of time.

The exposures “reflect a balance between being high enough to produce biological responses but not so high as to produce clinical responses,” the report said. The EPA stressed the importance of its studies, claiming they provide detailed biological information on how pollutants affect people, Bloomberg News reported. disclaimer: This article: EPA Hid Cancer Risks from Study Participants was posted on Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 5:44 am at and is filed under Toxic Substances Lawsuits.

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