State bill could shut down EPA experiments - WNCN: News, Weather

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State bill could shut down EPA experiments

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A state law could make on-going experiments at UNC-Chapel Hill a felony.

The experiments came under fire last year when public health advocate Steve Milloy, with the American Tradition Institute, filed a lawsuit against the EPA alleging its physicians exposed at least 300 unhealthy patients to lethal toxins to see what would happen.

"This law would no longer give EPA the wriggle room to treat human beings as guinea pigs, and that is what they are doing. They are treating human beings as laboratory animals -- as guinea pigs," Milloy said.

Milloy maintains North Carolina-licensed doctors parked a truck next to their labs at UNC's School of Medicine and pumped diesel exhaust into a glass chamber, where patients unknowingly inhaled potentially lethal fumes for hours.

The experiments caught the attention of Republican state senators, who are sponsoring Senate Bill 187, introduced earlier this week.

"EPA has said that it can be deadly, it can cause cancer and it can cause respiratory problems, so we have an obligation here at the state to make sure no one is deliberately exposing people to these types of chemicals," Senator Chad Barefoot said.

The Republican lawmaker represents Wake and Franklin Counties.

If the bill becomes law as written, beginning July 1, the experiments would be banned and become a felony.

"EPA has been able to get away with it because they've been doing it in secret. No one pays attention," Milloy said.

WNCN contacted the EPA for comment, but spokeswoman Andra Belknap said "EPA does not comment on pending legislation."

The EPA Office of the Inspector General is in the midst of a several-month long investigation requested by Congress.

In late January, the North Carolina Medical Board closed its investigation into the doctors at the center of the controversial experiments.

Charlotte Huffman

An award-winning journalist with an investigative edge, Charlotte has driven legislative change with reports on workplace safety concerns and contaminated groundwater. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

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