German auto maker experiment forced monkeys to breath diesel fumes

Feb 02, 2018, 12:23
German auto maker experiment forced monkeys to breath diesel fumes

After reports on Friday of USA tests on macaque monkeys, politicians in Berlin reacted with horror to news on Monday that tests to examine the health effects of diesel exhaust fumes were also carried out in the western city of Aachen on human test subjects.

"Tests with monkeys and humans are absurd and disgusting", said prime Minister of state of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, who is also a member of supervisory board of Volkswagen. The study was conducted by the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute and commissioned by the European Research Group on Environment and Health funded not only by VW but also by BMW and Daimler.

The German scientists tested "short-term nitrogen dioxide inhalation by healthy people", following which a hospital in Aachen university examined the 25 subjects after they had inhaled varying amounts of the gas over several hours.

With Volkswagen still struggling to recover from dieselgate, it is now, once again, in self-defence mode after a German newspaper and the New York Times published stories about how a research group established by VW, BMW and Daimler conducted nitrogen dioxide testing on both humans and monkeys.

According to the New York Times, monkeys were exposed to diesel exhausts from an older vehicle - others to fumes from a more modern auto.

"That a whole industry has apparently attempted to dispense with scientific facts through brazen and dubious methods only makes the whole thing even more outrageous", Hendricks said.

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"It's torturous and unjustified", bioethics professor Kerry Bowman of the University of Toronto said in an interview, "and what they were trying to prove is not completely clear".

The New York times reported on the research, which had 10 monkeys inhaling diesel emissions from a Volkswagen Beetle.

Daimler stated that it is "appalled by the extent of the studies and their implementation", while Volkswagen chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch said the tests were "totally incomprehensible" and that the incident must be "investigated fully and unconditionally".

On Thursday the New York Times reported that the EUGT research was created to counter a 2012 decision by the World Health Organization to classify diesel exhaust as a carcinogen.

The Beetle being used was equipped with VW's now notorious emissions testing recognition software, which recognised when a vehicle was being subjected to a laboratory or open-road test cycle, cutting engine performance and emissions dramatically.

Alleged fresh evidence that leading German vehicle makers commissioned unethical experiments to demonstrate the limited health risk posed by modern diesel engines prompted angry responses from politicians and animal rights activists on Monday.

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The test result stands in contrast to long-term medical studies drawing a link between nitrogen-dioxide and breathing problems, particularly among the young, the elderly and asthmatics.

Neither the monkey test nor the Aachen test revealed anything of use to the companies involved, with the monkey test being so pointless no report or conclusion was ever released.

In addition to a full inquiry and a comprehensive report, he expects "hard personal consequences" for those involved in the tests, German Der Spiegel magazine quoted him as saying.

German politicians condemned the experiments.

In a statement, BMW said it "did not participate in the mentioned studies".

Responding to widespread reports that humans were harmed in automotive industry experiments, however, Professor Thomas Kraus, who led the controversial 2013 study at the University of Aachen, emphasized that it was not related to diesel engines. "We apologise for the misconduct and the lack of judgment of individuals".

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