The Environmental Protection Agency thought it could get away with secretly whitewashing its program of illegal human experimentation. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men.
Last week, three of my colleagues and I exposed in detail the EPA’s illegal human experiments before a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). We had been invited to speak by the NAS after we confronted it with evidence that EPA had been trying to get with murder – literally.
More than four years ago, I brought to the attention of the public and Congress that EPA was experimenting with what the EPA described as deadly air pollutants on children (as young as 10 years), seniors (as old as 80 years), and people who health is impaired with heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. The EPA’s purpose in conducting the experiments was to cause harm to the study subjects so as to justify EPA’s air pollution regulations.
Not only are such experiments illegal to conduct – scientists and physicians can’t treat people like guinea pigs for the mere purpose of advancing the government’s regulatory agenda — but EPA compounded its illegality by failing to inform the study subjects that it had determined the air pollutants in question to be deadly.
Back in 2012, Congress forced the EPA’s inspector general (IG) to review the program and issue a report. In early 2014, the IG reported that EPA had failed to inform study subjects about the EPA-determined lethal nature of the air pollutants being tested. The report made headlines worldwide and greatly embarrassed the agency.
Far from ending its illegal conduct, the EPA went to work trying to repair its scandalized reputation and even to rehabilitate its human experimentation program. So the EPA secretly hired the prestigious NAS to do the whitewash. The EPA’s plan almost worked. But word leaked to me – but not until more than a year after the process had begun and after the Committee meeting process had concluded.
After privately and politely asking the NAS for the opportunity to address the committee – and being rebuffed – I took my case public. In a July 24 commentary in the Washington Times, I made my case and concluded by stating: “The NAS holds itself out as “nation’s pre-eminent source of high-quality, objective advice on science, engineering, and health matters.” If that is true, the NAS is certainly doing itself and its elite membership no favors by being paid to conduct a secret and ill-informed whitewashing of EPA’s illegal conduct.”
Apparently getting the point, the NAS relented and agreed to re-open the process and have an actual public meeting on EPA’s human experiments program. It did so on August 24.
During the meeting, emergency room physician John Dunn, MD, JD, statistician Stan Young, PhD, UCAL epidemiologist James Enstrom and myself made the case that, not only was the EPA’s program of human experimentation illegal, but that it was undertaken to cover-up EPA’s junk science-fueled air pollution regulatory program. Moreover, the EPA had misled the committee by withholding key information from it.
My final message to the NAS committee was the following: If air pollution is as deadly as the EPA claims it is, then EPA has committed multiple felonies; the only way EPA hasn’t committed these crimes is if EPA has misled the public and Congress about the dangers of air pollutants – there is no third option.
What will happen next? That’s hard to say. The NAS committee didn’t seem to be pleased to hear what we had to say. Only one committee member asked questions; the rest just listened in stony silence. While its possible that committee members were stunned into silence by our information and needed more time to digest it, it’s also possible that, simply, the “fix is in” for the EPA.
While I am ever hopeful that the NAS will do the right thing and recommend that the EPA ‘s illegal human experimentation program be shutdown immediately, given the secret nature of the process, the initial reluctance of the Committee to act, and the general arrogance and brazenness of our usually unaccountable government, especially the EPA, I remain concerned that the whitewash will continue.