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Ethics Biol Eng Med. 2010;1(4):285-291.

Protecting Privacy and Confidentiality in Environmental Health Research.

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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Box 12233, Mail Drop CU03, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.


Environmental health researchers often need to make difficult decisions on how to protect privacy and confidentiality when they conduct research in the home or workplace. These dilemmas are different from those normally encountered in clinical research. Although protecting privacy and confidentiality is one of the most important principles of research involving human subjects, it can be overridden to prevent imminent harm to individuals or if required by law. Investigators should carefully consider the facts and circumstances and use good judgment when deciding whether to breach privacy or confidentiality.


confidentiality; environmental health research; ethics; home; informed consent; privacy; workplace

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