Leaky Chambers

NIAID Encourages Use of Leaky Device in Biodefense
Chambers are Located in Nine US States, India, New Zealand, and Northern Ireland

(Austin, 18 April 2005) - A leaky aerosol chamber manufactured by the University of Wisconsin at Madison was responsible for three laboratory-acquired tuberculosis infections in a Seattle BSL-3 lab last year. The infections have not been made public until now. Nearly twenty Madison chambers exist across the US and in India, New Zealand, and Northern Ireland. While tuberculosis is not a biological weapons agent, the accident underscores the inherent dangers when working with dangerous disease agents, and the grave safety risks of the US biodefense program, which is encouraging more scientists to deliberately aerosolize bioweapons agents in Madison chambers and similar equipment.

The Madison chamber incident is the latest to be reported in a series of US lab accidents, including infections and/or mishandling of anthrax, tularemia, and pandemic influenza. At the encouragement of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Madison chambers have been purchased for use in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, and California, as well as India, Northern Ireland, and New Zealand. More of the suspect chambers may be in use; but the legal counsel of the University of Wisconsin at Madison has refused to answer questions and has been reluctant to promptly answer requests filed under Wisconsin open records law. the story goes on

Was it not so long ago that we had our big Anthrax scare? Those evil terrorists and their biological warfare. Oh you mean we do that too? And you mean the substances could escape through faulty equipment?

1 comment:

sutrix said...

You know, the big problem is (and always has been) that multimillion dollar corporations can get away with such placements. Law is at best slippery where such organisations are concerned.

And even people, to an extent, don't react to something till it goes drastically wrong.