The following occurred at my university (this is from a preliminary report that has been published):
Three colleagues requested permission to perform a certain chemical experiment (analyzing environmental samples) in a laboratory. The request was denied as the lab does not have sufficient ventilation for this sort of job. The colleagues ran the experiment anyway for several months. This was uncovered when several workers in nearby offices complained about headaches, skin rash and breathing difficulties. One person had to stay in a hospital for several days. The scientists have been suspended from or have left the university.
Apparently, the results from these experiments were used in a publication.
Should this publication be retracted? One argument is that the researchers knowingly risked the health and lives of persons to conduct their experiments. Others argue that the results themselves are OK and that the ‘side effects’ do not change the validity of the paper. Are there any ethical standards that deal with this situation or similar cases?