If the shocking allegations contained in a lawsuit filed last Friday by responsible science advocate Steven Milloy are accurate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a major scandal on its hands. As reported by the National Legal and Policy Center, Milloy initiated litigation in U.S. District Court in Virginia, based on evidence he accumulated via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). He alleges that the EPA engaged in disturbing experimentation that deliberately exposed human beings to airborne particulate matter the agency itself considers lethal. The experiments were conducted at EPA’s Human Studies Facility at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. “That EPA administrator Lisa Jackson permitted this heinous experimentation to occur under her watch shocks the conscience,” said Milloy.
The suit accuses the EPA of paying as many as 41 participants $12 an hour to breathe in concentrated diesel exhaust, for as long a two hours at a time. The exhaust was directly piped in from a truck parked outside the Chapel Hill facility. According to the lawsuit, the fine particulate matter, called “PM2.5,” was piped in at levels 21 times greater than what the EPA calls its “permissible limit.”
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Yet even that phrase is misleading. In testimony delivered to Congress in September of 2011, EPA chief Lisa Jackson claimed that exposure to fine particulate matter of 2.5 microns–or less–was lethal. ”Particulate matter causes premature death. It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should,” she testified at the time.