Pharmafia is not only Capitalism’s most convicted felon, but also the most successful justice-avoidant felon
If you think this is not your problem because you’re not living in US, think again:
The USA TODAY Network’s “Biolabs in Your Backyard” investigation, published since 2015, has revealed hundreds of accidents at corporate, university, government and military labs nationwide. It also has exposed a system of fragmented federal oversight and pervasive secrecy that obscures failings by facilities and regulators.
In January 2015, in an effort to determine the extent of lab accidents at the agency’s facilities, USA TODAY filed a FOIA request seeking copies of all incident reports at CDC labs in Atlanta and Fort Collins during 2013 and 2014. The CDC granted the request “expedited” processing status because USA TODAY demonstrated a compelling public need for the information. But the agency has said it will likely be 2018 before the records are released.
The newly disclosed 2009 incident in the BSL-4 decontamination shower is among about 4,000 pages of records the agency released in late January in response to two FOIA requests USA TODAY filed in June 2012. Those requests sought records about airflow and security door incidents at CDC’s $214 million, 368,000-square-foot Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory in Atlanta, commonly referred to by the agency as Building 18.
Most of these released records — which focus on airflow engineering issues in labs — involve a 2012 incident that USA TODAY reported four years ago based on documents obtained from sources. The issue involved air from inside a potentially contaminated lab briefly blowing outward into a “clean” corridor where a group of visitors weren’t wearing any protective gear. Among other incidents revealed in the records:
- In 2011, a worker feeding animals in an enhanced biosafety level 3 lab used for studies on dangerous strains of avian flu, was unable to shower out of the lab after a construction contractor mistakenly closed the wrong water valve in a service tunnel. Not knowing when the water would come back on, the worker removed her protective equipment, put on a clean protective suit and left the lab without taking a shower. “I escorted her through the service tunnel to building (redacted) where she signed into our (redacted) select agent laboratory. She disposed of the tyvek suit in a biohazard bag, placed her scrubs in the laundry bin, and took a personal shower.” The CDC told USA TODAY that because the potential for any exposure was considered low risk, a medical evaluation was not required.
- In 2008 an unvaccinated repair worker was potentially exposed to an undisclosed pathogen when a door containing contaminated items unexpectedly opened in a malfunctioning device, called an autoclave, that is used to sterilize equipment and other items. The infectious materials inside the device included bedding from infected mice and used laundry. While a report of the incident said that any material that may have escaped through the clean-side door that opened “was likely to be drawn upward toward the exhaust,” the worker was told to shower and his clothes, shoes, wallet, watch and other personal items were disinfected. He was escorted to the clinic for evaluation. The report notes that the autoclave “was installed backwards during building construction” and that as a result, the manual override controls for doors are reversed “which ultimately resulted in the incident.”
Building 18, which opened in 2005 has had a series of significant issues over the years. While the building’s many other high-containment and lower security labs were in operation from the start, its suite of BSL-4 labs did not go “hot” and start working with pathogens until around early 2009. The lab complex made news in 2007 when backup generators didn’t work to keep airflow systems working during a power outage and in 2008 for high-containment lab door that was being sealed with duct tape. The duct tape was applied after a 2007 incident where the building’s ventilation system malfunctioned and pulled potentially contaminated air out of the lab and into a “clean” hallway. Nine CDC workers were tested for potential exposure to Q fever bacteria. None were infected.
The full coverage of USA TODAY’s investigation used to be hosted on its own separate website, biolabs.usatoday.com , but they deleted it, unsurprisingly.
As we’ve shown in our video too, a wide range of mainstream media outlets have reflected the situation over the years, not just USA Today, being quite critical of it, but with almost no impact on the general population. Ah, well…
To be continued?
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! Articles can always be subject of later editing as a way of perfecting them