I’m guessing I wouldn’t be able to get away with this–nor would I want to (boldface mine):
Over the past decade, the EPA has apparently been paying hundreds of people $12 an hour for the privilege of exposing them to high levels of air pollutants like diesel exhaust and PM2.5 particulate matter in an operation run at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine.
A lawsuit has been filed in the federal court, charging the EPA with conducting illegal and potentially lethal experiments of hundreds of financially vulnerable people.
According to an EPA testimony before Congress in 2011, particulate matter—a key component of diesel exhaust fumes–causes premature death. “It doesn’t make you sick. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should.”
In addition: “If we could reduce particulate matter to levels that are healthy we would have an identical impact to finding a cure for cancer.”
Apparently, however, test subjects were not apprised of the exact risk involved. While the EPA has dramatized the dangers of PM2.5 exposure before Congress, with its test subjects, the message has been toned down to warn of the potential of airway irritation, coughing or shortness of breath. The courts will have to determine whether test subjects were sufficiently briefed on the risks.
This is how the EPA gathers the research it needs to support the implementation of strict regulations. Two major new regulations that have actually been rejected by the D.C. District Circuit Appeals court are the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury Air Toxics Standard—both based on the dangers of PM2.5.
Two things to note. First, the person pushing this story is Steven Milloy, who has made a career out of using junk science for odious purposes (e.g., defending the lung cancer/smoking lobby). Second, I can’t imagine a single academic IRB that would allow exposure to these agents without full disclosure of potential effects, if for no other reason to avoid lawsuits. By behaving unethically, the EPA has exposed itself (pun intended) to having regulations overturned.