Thursday, April 07, 2005

Pop Quiz on Research Ethics

You are an EPA official. You are told of a proposed study, known as the "Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study" (or "CHEERS," for short), to be jointly sponsored by EPA and the American Chemistry Council. In the study, parents from low-income families who use pesticides in the home will be paid $970/year to allow their infants and toddlers to go about their usual activities as use of the pesticides continues. The data will be used to evaluate the effects of pesticides on small children.


(a) Say: "No. No way. Not at my agency. We cannot fund or support this. Not one penny. Now get out of my office, and never come back."

(b) Hire outside experts to help determine whether the research would be ethical.

For the respective answers of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Stephen L. Johnson (nominated by Pres. Bush to head up the EPA), see this story in today's New York Times.

Update 4/10/05: Apparently confirmation politics are good for something. The study has been nixed.


Jessica writes ...

The idea that this would even be proposed is sickening.

9:23 AM  

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Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.