NAS Report: Weaknesses Found in Safety Assessment of Planned Fort Detrick Biodefense Lab/ GSN

Excerpts from Global Security Newswire:

The U.S. Army should fine-tune its procedures for determining safety risks in its projects following slip-ups in plans for the new site of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., a National Academy of Sciences committee said in a report issued Thursday (see GSN, Sept. 23, 2009)…

The Army provided insufficient evidence to back its conclusion that a release of the Ebola and Q-fever agents from the new facility would pose no threat to residences and commercial sites in Fredrick, a community numbering roughly 59,000 people, according to an NAS statement.

The service did not adequately assess personal risk of contamination or disease contraction, nor did it address exposure risks for workers within the new laboratory, according to the report…

In addition, the Army did not explore possible security threats posed by laboratory personnel, the committee stated…

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