Monday, 21 January, 2019

German outrage as it emerges carmakers deliberately tested exhaust fumes on humans

Monkeys were used to test diesel fumes German carmakers say	 	 	 			A Volkswagon car at CES in 2017 Monkeys were used to test diesel fumes German carmakers say A Volkswagon car at CES in 2017
Nellie Chapman | 29 January, 2018, 19:43

On Friday, the New York Times reported how the same EUGT organisation financed tests in the United States in which macaque monkeys were exposed to emissions from a diesel VW Beetle.

"We believe that the scientific methods used to conduct the study were wrong and that it would have been better not to undertake it at all", Volkswagen said in a statement on Monday. The company says it "explicitly distances itself from all forms of animal cruelty" and that "animal testing contradicts our own ethical standards". The automakers spoke out against the experiments and promised to investigate these tests in the days following a New York Times report last week that alleged testing on monkeys.

In one of the experiments, monkeys were forced to inhale exhaust fumes from a Volkswagen Beetle auto and an older pick-up truck for several hours, in an attempt to prove the Beetle's clean emission standards.

There were also reports that as part of the study 25 people had been exposed to different levels of nitrogen dioxide to see the possible health effects of the compound in concentrations below the workplace limit.

The German government also responded to the allegations on Monday. However, it since been found out that, unknown to the researchers, the Beetle was actually fitted with the emissions cheating technology that would lead to the Dieselgate scandal the following year.

However, the news about tests on humans have added fuel to the fire and sparked harsh criticism among social media users. The EUGT was dissolved in 2017. "Even though Daimler did not have influence on the study's design, we have launched a comprehensive investigation into the matter".

Daimler said, however, that all work commissioned with the EUGT was "accompanied and reviewed by a research advisory committee consisting of scientists from renowned universities and research institutes".

It's the latest example of fallout from Volkswagen's bombshell admission in 2015 that it had rigged millions of diesel cars worldwide to cheat on emissions tests.

Aachen University had no immediate comment.

The tests were meant to show modern diesel technology had solved the problem of excess emissions.

The tests haven't had any negative consequences for the health of either the animals or the humans, but the news has caused public outcry, with many people arguing that those responsible for the initiative must be punished.

He called for the companies concerned to provide "immediate and detailed" responses, and said a ministry commission of inquiry that was set up after the emissions scandal broke will hold a special meeting to examine whether there are any other cases.