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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Monkeys? Humans? The ethics of testing diesel fumes

Joel Gunter
BBC News
Originally published January 30, 2018

"These tests on monkeys or even humans cannot be justified ethically in any way," said Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks called the experiments "abominable", opposition politician Stephan Weil said they were "absurd and abhorrent".

But in a world where animal testing and paid medical testing on humans is commonplace, why have these particular tests provoked such outrage?

The exact nature of the VW tests is not known, as their methodology and findings have not been made public, but two independent scientists who have conducted air pollution tests on human volunteers told the BBC that similar tests on humans are commonplace.

"There have been hundreds of such studies, in most countries in the world, over the last 30 years," said Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King's College London. "They are funded by national governments, following strict ethical review, to understand the impact of emissions on human health."

The controversial, and possibly unethical, aspect of the VW testing was that it had been funded by a lobby group rather than an independent, government-funded body, he said.

The article is here.