Watchdog report: EPA didn't properly disclose noxious pollutant risks to study participants

The Environmental Protection Agency has a long-established reputation for what I suppose we might call “conscientious neglect.” That zealous bureaucracy is chock-full of expertise in so many areas, including cutting corners with transparency requirements; routinely overstepping the bounds of their regulatory authority; systematically ignoring the negative economic impacts whilst exaggerating the environmental benefits of their many proposed regulations; attempting to sneak costly rule changes into the books beneath the radar; and failing to root out the corruption and fraud in their own midst in an even remotely timely fashion.

But this… this could be a new low. Via The Hill:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not consistently disclose health risks to human test subjects it used to study the risks of pollutants, sometimes keeping information about cancer possibilities from participants, the agency’s internal watchdog said Wednesday.

The EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that the agency obtained the proper approvals from participants before exposing them to airborne exhaust and diesel pollutants, including particulate matter, in 2010 and 2011. However, the consent forms were inconsistent in their disclosures and did not warn of potential long-term risks of exposure to the gases.

“This was because they only planned to perform short-term exposures and the risk of getting cancer from a single two-hour exposure was minimal,” the OIG said, citing information from an EPA manager who said health risks are calculated for 40 years of exposure.The OIG found that the agency’s research estimated a three in one billion chance of cancer from exposure.

“In our view, the agency should inform study subjects of any potential cancer risks of a pollutant to which they are being exposed so that study subjects can make the most informed decision possible about whether to participate in a study,” the report said.

Ahem… the Environmental Protection Agency specializes in analyzing the risks of various pollutants and aggressively informing the public about them, does it not? And it can’t quite manage to exercise that same level of meticulousness in their own scientific studies? Good one, guys.