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Revelations about the companies' experiments on people came just days after the New York Times wrote about similar exhaust inhalation tests they funded involving monkeys in the U.S.in 2014. Evidence that the fumes are not harmful could potentially have helped the carmakers retain European tax breaks for diesel fuel, and influence the political debate around emissions.
The experiments were commissioned by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), a body funded by Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW.
The world's biggest carmaker Volkswagen faced fresh scrutiny today over reports it helped finance experiments that saw monkeys and humans breathe auto exhaust fumes.
In the end, the EUGT, which was disbanded in 2017, concluded that no health effects could be detected. German newspaper Stuttgarter-Zeitung later reported that EUGT also conducted tests on humans. The research, conducted in 2015, was authorized by an ethics commission at the RWTH Aachen University in Aachen, Germany, where it took place.
Kraus told press that the experiment in question was instead aimed at examining the effects of emission levels at work spaces and only exposed 25 healthy human participants to levels of nitrogen oxide pollution commonly found in cities. The New York Times first on the tests January 25. The company said it had suspended Thomas Steg, head of global and government relations, pending a full enquiry after taking responsibility for VW's involvement in the scandal. The results were also deliberately rigged to fit their desired results. That agency, with the knowledge of some Volkswagen executives, subjected monkeys to diesel fumes to counter the World Health Organisations statement that diesel fumes were carcinogenic.
Brussels said the tests were "unethical and unacceptable", and urged Germany to investigate them, the latest scandal to hit its vehicle manufacturers.
Volkswagen, last night, announced it had suspended its chief lobbyist, Thomas Steg, who'd admitted knowing about the study.
Mel Evans, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: "These bewilderingly abhorrent lab tests on monkeys and possibly humans, show yet again that Volkswagen is wholly untrustworthy and will do anything to promote dirty diesel".
The Volkswagen Group understands its social and corporate responsibility and takes criticism of this study by the EUGT very seriously.
Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler have caused the early deaths of thousands of Britons after staging exhaust tests to trick safety officials, the government's former chief scientist has claimed.
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