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German Scientists Tested Toxic Diesel Fume on Humans (Again)

02 February 2018

The EUGT is now closed, and Bosch left the group in 2013.

"On behalf of the Supervisory Board I distance myself with total determination of this type of practice", said Pötsch from the headquarters of Volkswagen in Wolfsburg and considered that these experiments "are not in any way understandable". The report said about 25 healthy people inhaled nitrogen dioxide in varying amounts at an institute run by Aachen University in southern Germany.

German carmakers condemned experiments that exposed humans to diesel fumes, promising to investigate the tests whose disclosure threatens to open a new phase in an emissions controversy that's dogged the industry since 2015.

According to a research scientist, the levels of nitrogen oxide were lower than is acceptable in industrial work places, but the research followed a conclusion by the World Health Organisation that classified diesel emissions as carcinogenic. The new scandal has sent shockwaves through Germany and the country's environment minister described the experiments as "abominable". In an official statement, the automaker has apologised for "the lack of judgement of individuals" involved in ordering the tests, and admits that "the scientific methods chosen then were wrong".

"They like to watch cartoons", one of the Lovelace researchers, Jake McDonald, said in a sworn deposition past year in a lawsuit brought against Volkswagen in the USA by Volkswagen diesel owners.

According to the Financial Times, the study began in 2014 and involved "caged monkeys watching television cartoons for hours as they inhaled fumes from a Volkswagen Beetle".

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Daimler also issued a written statement to "expressly distance" itself from the research, saying it was "appalled by the nature and extent of the studies and their implementation" and condemning them in the "strongest terms".

The experiments would have been commissioned by the European Association for Studies on Health and the Environment in Transport (EUGT, for its acronym in German), an entity founded by the Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW automobile consortium.

Volkswagen, the world's biggest carmaker, is under fire globally from politicians and environmentalists following revelations it commissioned experiments in which monkeys and humans breathed in vehicle fumes for hours at a time.

VW and the other automakers are now facing a public backlash for the LRRI tests as cruelty against animals. To accomplish this, they would have to convince American customers and regulators, who were both suspicious and unfamiliar with diesel passenger cars, that VW's engines were miraculously better than anything else imaginable.

On Monday Volkswagen said that some staff members, whom it did not identify, including some in its legal department, at the VW brand's technical development division and at Volkswagen of America, were aware of the tests at the time. Reports of the human tests followed a New York Times account of similar experiments on monkeys in the U.S., prompting automakers to distance themselves from the work. The test, which was confirmed by Aachen University's research hospital, the site of the test, was allegedly to do with workplace safety and not related to the automotive industry. Daimler and BMW said they had no knowledge of the Volkswagen-led study.

However, and here's the rub, the testing on animals will continue beyond cosmetics, with the monkey study a case in point of how companies and research organisations side-step laws.

German Scientists Tested Toxic Diesel Fume on Humans (Again)