Maryland Residents Fear Army Disease Lab

Monday, 10 Oct 2011 11:49 AM

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A new Army research facility in Maryland where scientists will study dangerous infectious diseases has not adequately assessed potential risks to the public, according to a report from the United States National Research Council. And residents of the city of Frederick are headed toward a conflict with military authorities about it, reports DailyCaller.com.

A preliminary risk assessment plan from the lab at Fort Detrick, which aims to develop responses against outbreaks of anthrax, plague, Ebola, and other diseases, focuses primarily on probable scenarios and does not take into account all potential incidents, the council alleges.
The research council has several recommendations for the facility’s final plan.

Council Chairman Charles Haas gave the lab’s preliminary assessment a grade of C minus and said, “We reviewed the work plan, and our findings were that, as laid out, it will not lead to a robust estimate of risk.”

The Army, which is not required to follow the council’s recommendations, said it is “in the process of reassessing the need for the facility.”

“The community didn’t have a choice in the labs coming here, but the community has a right to understand how the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies, are defining an acceptable risk,” said Beth Willis, who chairs the Containment Laboratory Community Advisory Committee, which the city formed to address concerns over the lab. “That needs to be made clear to us. So far that hasn’t been done, and we hope it will be when this new risk assessment is actually created.”

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