Accession Number : ADA500994


Title :   Oversight of High-Containment Biological Laboratories: Issues for Congress


Corporate Author : LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE


Personal Author(s) : Gottron, Frank ; Shea, Dana A


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a500994.pdf


Report Date : 04 May 2009


Pagination or Media Count : 34


Abstract : The federal government responded to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the subsequent anthrax attacks with increased focus on and funding for biodefense. A key consideration in this response was addressing shortages in diagnostic, clinical, and research laboratory capacity. Several departments and agencies have increased or are in the process of increasing their laboratory capacity. High-containment laboratories play a critical role in the biodefense effort, offering the hope of better responses to an attack and a better understanding of the threat posed by bioterrorism. However, they also could increase the risk of a biological attack by serving as a potential source of materials or training. Indeed, the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism recommends tightening government oversight of high-containment laboratories. Policymakers have become increasingly interested in the oversight of these facilities following reports of accidents, regulatory noncompliance, and community resistance. The increase in highcontainment laboratory capacity has raised new policy questions and emphasized existing ones. How much laboratory capacity is enough? What is the necessary federal investment? Should laboratories be consolidated or dispersed? What plans exist to coordinate multiple agency efforts to expand high-containment laboratory capacity? Does increasing laboratory capacity increase the risk of accidents and the opportunity for purposeful misuse? What is an acceptable balance between the benefits these laboratories provide and the risks they pose? Interested Members of Congress might take action to address some or all of these concerns. Alternatively, they might defer action until efforts currently under way assess and make recommendations regarding the existing regulatory structure.


Descriptors :   *RISK ANALYSIS , *BIOLOGICAL WARFARE , *LABORATORIES , RISK , COMMUNITIES , RESISTANCE , SECURITY , ATTACK , RESEARCH FACILITIES , SAFETY , ANTHRAX , TERRORISM , ACCIDENTS , UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT , HOMELAND SECURITY , CONGRESS , POLICIES


Subject Categories : Safety Engineering
      Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
      Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE