'Super-Secure' Canadian
Virology Lab Mistake
Only Took A Moment
From John <>
'Super-Secure' Canadian Virology Lab Mistake Only Took A Moment
From John < 10-26-99
Note - This Canadian story from July merits revisiting in light of the mounting concern over the top secret germ experimentation and research underway at Plum Island in New York. The facility has already been cited a number of times in the past for lax safety standards and operating procedures. Now officially listed as a 'Bio-Safety Level 3' facility, a request has been made for public input enroute to upgrading Plum Island to an even more dangerous 'Level 4' facility. However, and alarmingly, public comments from government officials have already referred to Plum Island as a 'Level 5' facility. So, what is really going on at Plum Island? 'Bio-Safety Level 5' is apparently so secret and dangerous that regulations and procedures for operating a 'Level 5' facility are not even available to the public. Plum Island is a 1 mile by 3 mile island located approximately 1 mile off Long Island...
Accident Occurs Already At New 'Super-Secure' Virology Lab
Kim Coghill reports for CBC Radio
WINNIPEG - Safety procedures are being reviewed at the federal government's new virology lab in Winnipeg. The lab is one of only about a dozen in the world designed to handle deadly viruses such as ebola.
The chief of safety and environmental services at the lab, Lee Thompson, says some waste water was inadvertently released into the city sewer system, without going through all the treatment phases first. The incident happened on June 23.
Thompson says in any high level lab, the possibility of human error needs to be taken into consideration.
Thompson says the waste that was released into the city system did not contain any harmful material.
The lab, named the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health cost Health Canada $172 million to build.
When it opened last month the government said the lab -- one of only 15 like it in the world -- would provide the highest possible level of safety. ___________
New Virology Lab Error Cleared By Audit
By Cameron MacIntosh
WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg lab that will soon hold some of the world's most deadly viruses has been given a clean bill of health.
The federal virology lab is supposed to be the most secure in the world.
But when news that some wastewater was accidentally flushed into the city's sewer system last June, the public wasn't so sure, especially because it took two weeks for the news to leak out.
An independent audit says the accident didn't create any danger to the public, but it did jeopardize public trust.
Lee Thompson, the lab's chief of safety, says the audit should put any fears to rest.
"The audit conclusion is this was a minor event a minor consequence," says Thompson.
The audit, by two American agencies, says there was nothing in the tank that was harmful.
But it says the lab needs to earn back public trust, so it recommends a public relations program.
Health Canada is promising to work with the province to create an advisory committee that would include local residents.
It also promises to inform the public immediately should any problems arise.
This summer the lab was supposed to begin doing research on Level Four viruses like Ebola.
The audit has delayed that until the end of the year. _____________