Concerns grow as biohazard research field booms

Before the 2001 anthrax attacks, the U.S. had only two biosafety level 4 (BSL4) labs, which conduct research involving the world's deadliest pathogens. Since then, however, spending in the area has increased tenfold, growing to $2 billion in 2006 at more than a dozen different facilities. And a new BSL4 lab is about to open in Boston. But the field has experienced some growing pains as new facilities open up. Once restricted to secure government facilities operating behind barbed wire, the work has spread to a host of locations.

Edward Hammond, who runs Project Sunshine, says that more than 200 research groups are studying anthrax alone. And as the money has flowed into the research field, there has been a spike in troubling incidents. Three mice infected with the plague escaped from a New Jersey lab, anthrax-causing bacteria was found on a freezer at a military lab, and research personnel have been bitten by animals infected with bird flu.

- check out the article from Newsweek

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