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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Ethics in Research: Baltimore Lead

Published: February 6, 2018

By Jessica Ilyse Smith

(Wikipedia Creative Commons)

(stream/download) as an MP3 file

Researchers in Baltimore are being criticized for carrying out a study that left some children living in unimproved housing that contained lead paint.

Twenty years ago Baltimore had the nation’s biggest lead problem. Researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute tried to determine the best way to get lead out of homes.

Unfortunately, the way that the study was conducted became suspect and lawsuits followed. A new class action suit has been filed in Baltimore, charging these researchers with using inner-city kids as guinea pigs. The suit says that researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute used children as “canaries in the mines” because they intentionally exposed children to lead; and failed to provide adequate notice to the parents.

Bruce Gellerman talks to David Resnik, a bioethicist and the IRB Chair at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences about this case.

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