Is the University of Rochester trying to hide its illegal human experiments?

We report. You decide.

We learned last October, that the University of Rochester has been conducting the same sort of air pollution experiments on human subjects as EPA researchers. Based on documents we obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, we determined that the EPA-conducted experiments were flagrantly illegal.

Suspecting that the University of Rochester experiments were similarly illegal we wrote the University of Rochester general counsel:

Ms. Sue S. Stewart
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
University of Rochester
500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14627

Re: Illegal Human Experimentation at the University of Rochester

I am writing to request that all human clinical research funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and conducted at the University of Rochester be suspended immediately pending an investigation.

There is strong reason to believe that this research is being conducted in an illegal manner that endangers the health and safety of the human subjects, violates federal regulations, and exposes the University and its employees to civil and possibly criminal liabilities.

Specifically, the University is involved in experiments during which human subjects were (are) exposed to exceedingly toxic substances (e.g., airborne particulate matter and diesel exhaust), and misinformed about the dangers of those substances. A summary of the experiments is [here].

Moreover, it is likely that the University’s institutional review board (IRB) was misinformed about the dangers —otherwise, it could never have approved the experiments in the first place.

All the aforementioned conduct is in gross violation of The Common Rule, which is meant to protect the public and institutions from rogue researchers.

In addition to this suspension request, I am asking for copies of the IRB applications and study subject consent forms so that we may conduct a preliminary review to see what, if any, further action is required.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter of public safety.

Steve Milloy

The University of Rochester promptly responded:

October 19, 2012

Dear Mr. Milloy,

Thank you for your letter of October 16th (below.) The University’s Research Subjects Review Board (RSRB), whose purpose is to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects at the University of Rochester is our Institutional Review Board (IRB). Our RSRB did review and approve the research you referenced. The RSRB will review it again, including research subject safety and relevant IRB applications and study subject consent forms.

The University of Rochester is committed to protecting study subjects and operating in compliance with federal regulations and guidelines.


Sue Stewart

A month later, we received this communication:

Dear Mr. Milloy –

This email is in response to your request for a status update. Working with our RSRB we have determined that there is only one study at the UR currently enrolling patients that would arguably fall within the scope of your concerns. We are undertaking a thorough re-review of that study, including obtaining comment from an independent consultant from outside the institution. The RSRB is proceeding expeditiously, but a good review will still take some time to complete.

In the interim, I want to let you know that University of Rochester excluded from eligibility for this research any people who because of pre-existing conditions might be vulnerable to research related injury.

Sue Stewart

On January 9, 2013, I submitted a FOIA request to the University asking for documents describing the experiments and disclosures made to the study subjects, which instantly drew this response:

Mr. Milloy,

The Freedom of Information Act does not apply to the University of Rochester because it is not a public or governmental institution.

As of January 1, 2013, I am no longer the General Counsel. I have retired. In the future, please direct your questions and comments to Christine Burke, who is copied on my email. Ms. Burke is the General Counsel for the University’s Medical Center. Gail Norris, also copied, is the new General Counsel of the University.

Sue Stewart

We responded:

Ms. Burke,

The attached URochester memo would seem to indicate that the information I am seeking is FOIA-able.

If you differ, please advise and explain.


Steve Milloy

My FOIA request was again refused on January 23, with the University saying that the request would have to be made to EPA:

Dear Mr. Milloy,

This is in follow up to your email renewing your request, pursuant to FOIA, for copies of the consent form and IRB applications in connection with UR’s particulate research. To clarify, Congress through OMB A-110 requires funding agencies – not private universities – to make certain research data available through Freedom of Information. Upon a funding agency’s receipt of an FOI request, the agency will notify researchers of the request for their data. The funding agency, in this case EPA, is responsible for determining whether to release the data. I believe the disclosure requirement is limited to research data and is not applicable to consent forms and IRB applications. In any event, I recommend that you direct your FOI request to the EPA.

I thought it would be helpful to give you an update on our review. First, I would like to clarify the focus of the only University of Rochester air pollution study currently enrolling subjects (as this doesn’t appear to be clear from previous emails between you and Ms. Stewart). The only air pollution research currently enrolling subjects is an ozone study. Your questions, of course, pertain to diesel and particulate studies. We are not currently enrolling any subjects in those types of studies.

With respect to the particulate studies, the University remains committed to responding to the concerns you’ve raised by taking a fresh look at the two, closed, particulate studies which are the basis of your inquiry. As a reminder, we are engaging independent experts to review the studies. This decision was approved by our institutional review board and we have identified appropriate outside experts to undertake the review. We have become aware of the EPA Inspector General’s intent to review air pollution studies. While we will keep our review moving forward, we are tracking the results of the EPA investigation and reserve the right to take the EPA findings into account. Our review will take time to complete. We hope you will understand that it is necessary to be thorough and deliberate in order to ensure the credibility of our review.

Christine Burke

We had asked for the documents from EPA in October 2012. EPA responded saying that they would cost an unaffordable $6,231.00.

So the effort to get copies of the documents describing the experiments stalled.

Finally on May 14, 2013, we received this letter from the University of Rochester:

Dear Mr. Milloy –

This is to provide you with the final results of our review in response to the concerns you brought to our attention regarding air pollution research conducted at the University of Rochester. Christine Burke, Medical Center General Counsel, asked me to communicate this information to you in her absence.

As you know, in order to reassess the propriety of the research at issue and to ensure objectivity we requested outside reviews by two independent experts unaffiliated with the University. The two experts are both board certified pulmonologists associated with major academic medical centers. They thoroughly reviewed the initial applications to the RSRB for approval of the research and the consent forms. They also consulted the applicable literature and relied upon their own knowledge and expertise in order to quantify the clinical risks involved in the research. Both experts concluded that the subjects were not exposed to undue risk, that the risks were appropriately disclosed, and that the research was appropriate. We now consider this matter closed, although we do reserve the right to consider the conclusions of the EPA regarding the studies at issue when they are available. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.

Spencer L. Studwell, Esq.
Associate Vice President for Risk Management.
Sr. Associate General Counsel

We responded today (May 15) as follows:

Dear Mr. Spencer,

Thank you for your note, however, without seeing the documents that I have previously requested, your conclusion has no demonstrable basis in fact and, so, this matter is hardly “closed.”

Aside from the black box/secret nature of the review, the unidentified board certified pulmonologists cannot be presumed to have any expertise or knowledge whatsoever with the current EPA-determined science of PM2.5 and/or diesel exhaust.

So the review you claim to have occurred appears to be nothing more than whitewash.

At this point, there can be no doubt that the EPA-funded PM2.5 human clinical research URochester has conducted flatly violates the Common Rule as well as the Nuremberg Code.

Consequently, the physicians conducting the experiments have likely violated New York state law by committing batteries on the study subjects.

Keep in mind that one student has already died from URochester negligence in conducting an air pollution clinical study.

I renew my request for copies of the relevant IRB applications and consent forms. I can assure you that they will not remain secret in perpetuity and I caution you against destroying them.


Steve Milloy

9 thoughts on “Is the University of Rochester trying to hide its illegal human experiments?”

  1. someone needs to investigate the Rochester children’s nursery sending children to the cobbs hill bldg. by the water around 1946. their arms were held behind their backs and a long qutip looking stick was inserted in the left nostril.pain was horrific. a tall white coat male and a red box to his left was where he got the stick two young men held kids arms ,they also had driven the children from the school on exchange st . Rochester ny in a army green car . terrible stomach aches,nausia and gut pain lasted for about 4 years. they were lined up,,no clothes with towels and made to get in a bathtub up to the chin for a couple of minutes , young woman never seen before were in charge not regular teachers. they were given weird pinkish milk like coolaid to drink, tasted disgustingly awful .test subject children were all white. dr William Bradford from the u of r would com and give physicals about every 4 -6 months and then instruct parent to take child to strong for thyroid test called basic metabolism test ,plugged nose and a needle grafing lines on a large paper looking cylinder.and than thyroid pills. dr Bradford rushed to home when subject was covered with red rash.turned to be chickenpox dr foley ,office on highland ave in Rochester injected inside elbow vein, count to ten , agonizing pain one visit only .dr depapp of Rochester has investigated this subject and is thought to be a good man . afraid to identify the writer of this information.

  2. The fatality referenced above occurred in April 1996 — over 20 years ago!
    Makes me wonder whether the author’s motivations might have more to do with his getting the proverbial “thin envelope” from the Rochester Office of Admissions when he was a high school senior than science

  3. Keep at the good work. More out here were used than we know. I have large surgical scars and a handful of internal tumors of substantial size, that have been there since soon after my birth. No one in the family knows why. The hospital records only showed i was born. They show i was kept there for a period after birth. That was 1960. The scars are still there. Big. My grandmother was a nurse, and lived there next door to my mother. Even she never figured out what ws done to me. The hospitals back then were not required to tell anyone anything. I have nonhereditary rheumatic, psoriatic arthritis conditions, and autoimmune complex conditions. They got worse as i got older. Doctors have never identified any cause, nor are any medications proven valuable yet. The diagnoses state unusual conditions, with increasingly rapid deteriorations and joint damage, every year, but no one else in any side of my family has ever had such a thing. We come from solid peasant stock 😉

  4. The University of Rochester’s responses reek of, pardon me, bullshit. The fact that their research is funded by EPA, who conducted such illegal experimentation similar to theirs, is unsettling. That alone is reason for investigation, not to mention their shady responses and pure stubborn refusal. to.disclose

  5. My Mother died as a result of University of Rochester (Strong Memorial Hospital). She was severely burned because of a ‘problem’ when she had radiation treatments for cancer back in the 1960s. The Doctor later remarked he was ‘Doing a paper’ on her.

    My mother, my boyfriend’s mother and my best friend’s mother, all died from ‘misshaps’ within a six month period. The hospital even made the TV program ‘Sixty Minutes’ because of the large number of patient deaths.

    From WIKI:

    Human radiation experiments
    … From 1945 to 1947, Strong was the site of non-consensual human experimentation programs under supervision of the Manhattan Project and its successor, the United States Atomic Energy Commission….

    Additional information:

    Some of the classified government experiments included:

    * Exposing more than 100 Alaskan villagers to radioactive iodine during the 1960s.

    * Feeding 49 retarded and institutionalised teenagers radioactive iron and calcium in their cereal during the years 1946-1954.

    * Exposing about 800 pregnant women in the late 1940s to radioactive iron to determine the effect on the fetus.

    * Injecting 7 newborns (six were Black) with radioactive iodine.

    * Exposing the testicles of more than 100 prisoners to cancer-causing doses of radiation. This experimentation continued into the early 1970s.

    * Exposing almost 200 cancer patients to high levels of radiation from cesium and cobalt. The AEC finally stopped this experiment in 1974.

    * Administering radioactive material to psychiatric patients in San Francisco and to prisoners in San Quentin.

    * Administering massive doses of full body radiation to cancer patients hospitalised at the General Hospital in Cincinnati, Baylor College in Houston, Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City, and the US Naval Hospital in Bethesda, during the 1950s and 1960s. The experiment provided data to the military concerning how a nuclear attack might affect its troops.

    * Exposing 29 patients, some with rheumatoid arthritis, to total body irradiation (100-300 rad dose) to obtain data for the military. This was conducted at the University of California Hospital in San Francisco….

    In 1995 the Energy Department admitted to over 430 radiation experiments conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission between the years 1944 and 1974. Over 16,000 people were radiated, some of whom did not know the health risks or did not give consent.

    These experiments were designed to help atomic scientists understand the human hazards of nuclear war and radiation fallout. Because the entire nuclear arms buildup was classified secret, these experiments were all stamped secret and allowed to take place under the banner of protecting “national security.”

    …In January 1994 President Clinton convened an Advisory Committee to investigate the accusations surrounding the human radiation experiments. In their final report presented to the president on 3 October, 1995, the Committee found that up to the early 1960s it was common for physicians to conduct research on patients without their consent.

    The Committee’s harshest criticism was reserved for those cases in which physicians used patients without their consent in experiments in which the patients could not possibly benefit medically. These cases included the 18 people injected with plutonium at Oak Ridge Hospital in Tennessee, the University of Rochester in New York, the University of Chicago, and the University of California at San Francisco, as well as two experiments in which seriously ill patients were injected with uranium, six at the University of Rochester and eleven at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The plutonium and uranium experiments undoubtedly put the subjects at increased risk for cancer in ten or twenty years’ time….

    So no I am not making it up.

    The most chilling part is this:

    The Nuremberg Code includes 10 principles to guide physicians in human experimentation….
    The records now show that many victims of the government’s radiation experiments did not voluntarily consent as required by the Code. As late as 1959, Harvard Medical School researcher Henry Beecher viewed the Code “as too extreme and not squaring with the realities of clinical research.” Another physician said the Code had little effect on mainstream medical morality and “doubted the ability of the sick to understand complex facts of their condition in a way to make consent meaningful.”

    Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1996, Jay Katz recalls an argument at Harvard Medical School in 1961 suggesting that the Code was not necessarily pertinent to or adequate for the conduct of research in the United States. Katz writes: “The medical research community found, and still finds, the stringency of the NC’s first principle all too onerous.”

  6. My two daughters work at the NYC Transit Authority.
    For 3 separate days in July, the NYC Police plan to release perfluorocarbons into the subway stations to study how airborne toxins would flow through the city after a terrorist attack or a spill of hazardous chemicals.
    This makes me as a parent nervous.
    I was just reading a few stories of the EPA being sued for doing some nefarious testing on the American people.

  7. What gets me is that high level legal counsels have no idea of syllogistic reasoning.
    The EPA says that particulate pollution is deadly and would yield vast benefits for the billions of dollars required to control it. The pollution is part of an experiment. Therefore the experiments are OK? Good Grief.

    A similar problem occurred when Mr. Markopolos tried to explain Bernie Madoff to a high ranking lawyer at the SEC.

  8. I decide they are desperately trying to prevent their experiments being public and given the ways they try to wriggle out from under it they have something nasty to hide.

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