Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Investigators Spot More Anthrax Safety Lapses at U.S. Labs
A new probe of a key U.S. health agency's failure to safely handle anthrax bacteria has revealed numerous additional breaches, Reuters reports.
A Monday congressional memorandum describes a range of violations found by outside investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The missteps -- which included carrying potentially dangerous material between facilities in Ziploc bags -- went beyond those that the medical agency identified after a June safety mishap prompted fears that dozens of its personnel may have been exposed to anthrax.
CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said his agency would "work as quickly as [it] can to respond to the issues" uncovered by the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The newly revealed breaches include refrigerating anthrax in an unsecured corridor, according to the inspection service. "The key to one of the refrigerator doors sat in its lock," the congressional document states.
"At the time of inspection, containers of anthrax were missing and had to be tracked and located by the inspection team. Anthrax still was sitting in an unregistered and unlocked lab and other areas that had not been registered for special agent use or storage," the report adds.
In the aftermath of last month's feared anthrax release, workers attempted to clean facility areas using bleach they worried had passed its pull date, the report adds. In addition, potentially exposed personnel left examinations "without knowing the extent of their risk," according to the findings.
Lawmakers plan to scrutinize the findings in a Wednesday hearing, says a press release by the House Energy And Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
"Each layer we peel back in this investigation seems to reveal a new instance of carelessness," said Representative Tim Murphy (R-Penn.), the panel's chairman.
Note to our Readers
GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.
May 23, 2014
The UNSCR 1540 Resource Collection examines implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in all of the regions and countries of the world to-date.
This article provides an overview of the United States’ historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.