Chapters 2-4 provide context for housing health hazards research. Chapter 2 describes the connection between housing and health, with emphasis on the particular housing health hazards more commonly experienced among low-income, minority populations. Chapter 3 analyzes the issues raised by Grimes v. Kennedy Krieger and how federal regulations have dealt with these issues and details the protections afforded by the current regulations. Chapter 4 analyzes in more detail how housing health hazards research is different than traditional biomedical research and the unique ethical issues raised by these differences.
Chapters 5-8 present and discuss the committee’s recommendations to ensure that housing health hazards research is designed and conducted so that it is consistent with the ethical principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. Chapter 5 explores how community involvement contributes to ethical research and lays out the range of possible approaches. Chapter 6 analyzes how the ethical issues raised when research targets primarily economically and educationally disadvantaged populations can be addressed through an informed consent process that embraces community input and emphasizes essential features of the research. Chapter 7 describes the ethical obligations of researchers, including the need to consider innovative research designs, how to handle test results, obligations to potential third parties, and the need to develop anticipatory plans to respond to risks observed in the home. The final chapter presents recommendations for a system of research oversight that acknowledges the roles of research institutions and their IRBs and research sponsors in addition to those of researchers, including the need for guidance on various aspects of the applicable federal regulations.