Thursday, July 30, 2009

"regrettable consequences"

Biological Research: Observations on DHS's Analyses Concerning Whether FMD Research Can Be Done as Safely on the Mainland as on Plum Island
GAO-09-747, July 30, 2009
Full Report (PDF, 64 pages)

... Drawing conclusions about relocating research with highly infectious exotic animal pathogens from questionable methodology could result in regrettable consequences. Site-specific dispersion analysis, using proven models with appropriate meteorological data and defensible source terms, should be conducted before scientifically defensible conclusions can be drawn.

UW "expert":

Procedures Have Long Been In Place For Safe Research On Infectious Diseases
The Capital Times :: EDITORIAL :: A7
Monday, December 4, 2006
Daryl D. Buss, dean School of Veterinary Medicine UW-Madison

Dear Editor: A recent letter to the editor expressed concern about the possibility of a new federal agricultural support laboratory, the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility, being located at the UW Kegonsa Research Facility.

It is important to note that the safe conduct of research on infectious diseases, and employment of the related precautions to ensure that safety, is not new. The UW-Madison has for decades been a leader in such research, and the findings and applications of that research have led to the elimination of such diseases as tuberculosis and brucellosis from our livestock population. These are examples of diseases referred to as zoonotic diseases, which are those animal diseases potentially transmissible to humans.

The future National Bio and Agro Defense Facility -- no matter where it is located -- will include laboratories designed to provide the high levels of biosecurity needed for the safe conduct of diagnostic testing for infectious diseases, as well as for research to develop new vaccines and drugs to control these diseases.

The engineering features that help assure that level of biosecurity are not new or experimental. They have been proven over many decades in laboratories in urban settings such as Atlanta, Ga.; Bethesda, Md.; and Frederick, Md.; and internationally in such locations as Winnipeg, Canada, and Melbourne, Australia.

It is the combination of these specialized engineering design features with rigorously monitored laboratory practices that has made research on infectious diseases a safe and effective process, leading to many of the disease diagnostic, prevention and treatment methods we now take for granted.

Wisconsin State Journal discounted science and concerns and urged ride on dangerous bandwagon:

U.s. Lab Is Good Fit For Dane County
Wisconsin State Journal :: OPINION :: A8
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Memo to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: As you consider where to build a $400-million federal laboratory to conduct research to fight animal and human diseases, you should be aware of the public support for putting the lab in Dane County.

Yes, there is local opposition as well, which was represented in the Dane County Board's vote last week to oppose construction of the lab in the town of Dunn. But the vote was only an expression of board members' early opinions.

There is time to persuade opponents. The overwhelming evidence of the lab's benefits to national health and security, its contributions to the Wisconsin economy and its compatibility with local land use plans make a winning case.

We in Dane County understand that we are competing with 16 other sites in 10 other states to become the home for the lab, known as the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility.

The opposition here is generated, at least in part, by fear of the unknown. At first, opponents feared risks they imagined would be associated with the research the lab will do on high-level animal and human disease and bioterrorism.

But as the opponents have been informed about the safety of the research, the fear has subsided.

Most of our local concern now is based on land use. The Dane County site you are considering, which was proposed by UW-Madison, is in the town of Dunn. Some residents fear the impact of a 500,000-square-foot biological and agricultural lab on the town's rural character, even though the town land use plan permits agricultural labs.

There will be opportunity to ease residents' fears when it comes time to discuss exactly what the lab will look like and what accommodations can be made.

There will also be opportunity to excite the county about the economic benefits the lab offers - 200 to 400 high-paying jobs, the opportunity local research businesses will have to grow by collaborating with the lab, and the potential to make the Madison area the nation's premier location for agricultural and biological research.

So as you prepare to trim the list of potential sites to a few finalists, please consider the advantages that the UW-Madison proposal offers. And understand that most of Dane County would welcome the lab.

Maybe jobs are more important than the community's health. NBAF has never been a good idea.

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