The Ethics of Industry Experimentation Using Employees: The Case of Taste-Testing Pesticide-Treated Tobacco
McDaniel, Patricia A.
Malone, Ruth E.
American Journal of Public Health 2006 January; 96(1): 37-46
In the United States, companies that use their own funds to test consumer products on their employees are subject to few regulations. Using previously undisclosed tobacco industry documents, we reviewed the history of that industry's efforts to create internal guidelines on the conditions to be met before employee taste testers could evaluate cigarettes made from tobacco treated with experimental pesticides.This history highlights 2 potential ethical issues raised by unregulated industrial research: conflict of interest and lack of informed consent. To ensure compliance with accepted ethical standards, an independent federal office should be established to oversee industrial research involving humans exposed to experimental or increased quantities of ingested, inhaled, or absorbed chemical agents.
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