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Friday, July 18, 2003

Lab Work 

Exposure to Automobile Exhaust Increases the Risk of Lung Cancer
Boston, MA (AP) – Biologists announced the results of a study today ...

In my respiratory biology laboratory
at the School of Public Health
we do pulmonary research
using rats, hamsters,
dogs,

(no guinea pigs.)

Not in my lab
but in the building,
cats, mice, albino rabbits,
chimpanzees
huddle in the corner of their cages.

In my lab,
we surgically attach radio signal backpacks
with wires that run under the skin
to hamsters
and measure heartbeat remotely.

Hamsters naturally run on wheels
in regular patterns.
We put them on treadmills
with exposure to ozone
and watch the squiggles

on the strip-chart recorder.

In my lab,
we put trachea tubes
in dogs,
put the dogs in cages stacked two by two in a gas chamber
and expose them to sulfur dioxide
until their fur is stained yellow.

We try not to name them.

Test Subject Handling Protocols
indicate that it is less cruel
if the animals are never shown
any affection.
No pound animals,
no ex-pets, are ever used – rather,
the subjects are bred and raised
in a clinical environment –
pre-conditioned for euthanasia.

Archie,
a brown-spotted springer spaniel,
will bump his head on my leg
to ask for a scratch between his feathered ears.
When the daily exposure is complete,

I pull

the
white
plastic
from
wet
throat
wounds
trachea tubes are installed in the test subject to ensure that the sample gas is absorbed by lung tissue as opposed to absorption in live mucus membranes, the rate for which is unknown. Absorption rates for test gasses into fur are tabulated in Reference (gg).

Tracheostomy scars spit
yellowish-white phlegm
in coughing dollops
on the tile floor.
Malignant lung tissue samples,

tumors sliced thin and stained red

on slides, don’t look
like Archie.



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