Chlorine gas possibly used in Syria — but definitely used on people by the EPA: Another shocking human experiment

While chlorine gas may have been used as a weapon by one side or the other in Syria, it was definitely used on people by the EPA.

One of the EPA human testing subjects who came forward as a result of the media coverage of the human testing scandal reported to us that she had been exposed to chlorine gas by the EPA during an intentional exposure experiment at the EPA lab housed in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

She stated,

The next study (called “CHAPS”) I qualified for was in 2008. This title was “Respiratory effects of short-term low-level chlorine gas exposure” IRB # 05-2019. According to the consent form, the purpose of this study was “to evaluate changes in lung function and evidence of respiratory tract inflammation.” This was also a two-part, two-day study. The first day involved an EKG, bloodwork, and baseline pulmonary function tests. Next I underwent a four-hour chamber exposure to chlorine gas at 0.4ppm while exercising on and off a bike and treadmill in alternating 20-minute periods. After the exposure all pre-tests were repeated, along with a “methacholine challenge,” where I inhaled the airway constricting drug methacholine to test how my airway reacted to the drug. This completed day one. Day two involved the repeating of pulmonary function tests and labs, along with follow-up bronchoscopy. The bronchoscopy included both bronchoalveolar lavage and brush biopsy. This entire process was repeated again at least four weeks later, with exposure to chlorine or clean air. I was blinded to the study conditions. [Emphasis added]

The exposure to 0.4 ppm of chlorine gas exceeds the World Health Organization’s recommended limited for safe ambient exposure to chlorine gas (i.e., 0.034 ppm) by 11.7 times.

Evidence that EPA had indeed exposed human subjects to chlorine gas was found in at least one document on the EPA web site and is excerpted below:

Devlin chlorine insert

More details about CHAPS and other intentional exposure experiments involving chlorine gas have been omitted or scrubbed from the EPA web site.

Given that (1) chlorine gas is hazardous to health; (2) chlorine gas is not an ambient air pollutant; and that (3) EPA has no regulatory authority over workplace exposures to chlorine, why was EPA testing chlorine gas on its human guinea pigs?

8 thoughts on “Chlorine gas possibly used in Syria — but definitely used on people by the EPA: Another shocking human experiment”

  1. I’ve been exposed to way higher levels than that by my own volition. The levels discussed in the article are fairly low. Drinking water is 1ppm. Hot showers release a lot of gas since Chlorine is hardly soluble in hot water. Chlorine, while irritating, is mostly an acute toxicity threat. You will definitely notice toxic levels and someone would have to tie you down to keep you around it since even safe levels are generally uncomfortable. The wiki says you need 3ppm to sense it, but I can sense 1ppm or less and I have experienced actual tissue damage from high levels of Chlorine in the past, so I don’t know where they are getting that number from..

    If you want to experiment with Chlorine gas, it is easily made by mixing Sodium hypochlorite with an acid. Don’t ad urine as you will get some Hydrazine in there and that stuff is bad

  2. You cannot. It should have been 3 not 2 mg/m^3.

    1mL/m^3 X 1mMol/24.4mL X 71mg/Mmol = 3 mg/m^3.

  3. You can also look at recent experiments with ozone and folks riding bicycles to find an example of extrapolation far beyond the ability of the experimental equipment.

  4. Ben,

    I am sure that they were looking for something to regulate; that is what they do. In fact, this might still be an active project somewhere within the Agency.

    If they can find any adverse effect of any kind EPA is perfectly willing to extrapolate as far as is necessary, far below any possible threshold of damage limit, in order to get the authority that they crave. I always suggest that folks read the EPA IRIS assessment of acetaldehyde. I think that it is the quintessential extrapolation of no lasting damage of any kind to any beast to attain a fictional RfD for an innocuous substance.

  5. Snorbert, thanks for the numbers to put this in perspective.

    My concern is more
    1: Why was the EPA doing this in the first place? This is OSHA territory.
    2: Was she properly informed of the dangers and possibilities? If so, then the test seems pointless, but not violating protocols (I hope they didn’t omit what chlorine gas can do if their regulator failed).

  6. The OSHA standard (8-hour permissible exposure limit) for chlorine gas (Cl2) is 1 ppm (2 mg/m^3), so it appears that the EPA experimental design did not violate applicable regulations. I suspect the the WHO recommendation 0.034 ppm is for continuous (70yr 24/7) lifetime exposure. Long term permissible exposures are always far smaller than permissible short term exposures.

    The EPA IRIS does not contain any data for chlorine inhalation exposures nor does it contain any recommended reference doses. EPA classified chlorine as a category D substance, not classifiable as a carcinogen, because of a dearth of human and animal data.

    Please, do not misconstrue this as an endorsement of EPA procedures. I believe that it is a destructive agency that has been taken over by rabid environmentalists who believe that their perceived ends justify any means.

  7. Mr. Higgins has it about right I think.

    I’m highly skeptical of claims of chemical attacks in Syria. We do know that Syria has such weapons ( a lot of them), but it’s also likely that the rebels have some from captured areas. MAD doctrine actually works here IMO.

    The best evidence is the claims of casualties. 25 dead from a gas attack in a populated area? Seems WAY too low. Even chlorine would do more than that and it’s a pretty poor agent compared to sarin or blood agents.

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