Reading Room

Monday, December 10, 2007  
People must oppose scary new bio-lab

By: Beverly King, Tri-Valley CAREs board member
Published In: Contra Costa Times

As your newspaper recently reported, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory caused an anthrax release when shipping more than 4,000 vials of the pathogen to Florida and Virginia. Two anthrax vials had missing lids and a third was not properly secured. The accident occurred in 2005, but the information was not made public. Fortunately, this carefully held secret was exposed in 2007. Lab management was fined $450,000 as these shipments violated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations and exposed workers to danger. The Department of Energy plans a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3) in Livermore, which would experiment with anthrax, plague, Q fever and a host of other deadly pathogens. Without being a BSL3, the lab's track record is already suspect. What would happen if large amounts of these pathogens were used in experiments and shipments? There is no guarantee these pathogens would be handled safely. Careless handling, as in the 2005 anthrax incident, accidents, earthquakes, and faulty procedures endanger everyone. Many of these pathogens are airborne. Once let loose, they do their damage indiscriminately. As citizens of a community where these pathogens will be used and a nation through which these materials will be transported, we must make sure that this BSL3 is never established. I call on my neighbors to join me in opposing this new bio-lab in Livermore. Check for more information.

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