Volkswagen helped fund a study conducted by a third-party research group that subjected 10 monkeys to nitrogen dioxide exposure.
Details on the study were released as part of a lawsuit filed against VW in the United States, which was subsequently covered by The New York Times on Thursday. The tests, which were conducted by the US-based Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in 2014, saw 10 cynomolgus macaque monkeys placed in air-tight chambers as they watched cartoons to keep them entertained. A diesel VW Beetle was then put on a roller, where a machine drew exhaust fumes from the tailpipe and fed it into a container. The fumes were then diluted and pumped into the chambers where the monkeys were.
The study was supposed to compare exposure fumes from a 2014 VW diesel vehicle with those from a diesel 1999 Ford pickup. Lovelace scientists were not able to come to a clear conclusion, however, and failed to produce a research paper on their findings. Furthermore, the Lovelace institute was provided with a vehicle that had VW’s ‘dieselgate’ software installed, which was designed to recognize when a vehicle was undergoing a laboratory test and temporarily reduce its tailpipe emissions. Therefore, if the institute’s study had produced results, they would not have been accurate.
The Lovelace institute was hired by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector to conduct the study. The EUGT, as it’s known in Europe, received all of its funding from Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, but it has since shut down over controversies related to its work. In the past, the EUGT backed studies designed to change the public’s perception on the harmful effects of diesel fumes. In one case, it helped fund research that challenged a World Health Organization effort to classify diesel exhaust fumes as a carcinogen.
VW pleaded guilty to federal fraud and conspiracy charges in the US over the dieselgate scandal and has agreed to pay fines totalling more than $26 billion.
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[Source: The New York Times]