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Massachusetts Background: BU Triumphant & Shamed


Massachusetts Background:


Information About the Proposed South End Biodefense
Laboratory

Adam Smith, Sampan, April 12, 2004

Boston University Medical Center plans to build a high-level
biodefense research laboratory in the South End. Only about four such labs (also
called BSL 4 labs) are in operation in the country. The laboratories are
controversial because they house research of highly infectious, hazardous and
exotic pathogens, such as Ebola. Sampan has written many stories about the
laboratory, which will be housed in the nearly 15-acre BioSquare research
complex, whose program manager is Robert Walsh, a former Boston Redevelopment
Authority director. BioSquare was first proposed in the early 1990s but only
parts of it have been completed. The original plan included bioresearch
facilities as well as a hotel and parking garages. The new project - the result
of federal grant money to create the biodefense laboratory - includes no hotel,
a cutback in laboratory space and the top-level biodefense laboratory.

Massachusetts Nurses Association Steps Forward


After five months of intense discussion and debate, with input
from MNA's Diversity Committee, Task Force on Emergency Preparedness, Board of
Directors, staff and allies, the MNA board passed the following statement on
January 20th. The final version, incorporating stronger language proposed at
that meeting and formatted for clarity, was published on January 25th. The
revelations since January 19th of BU's deceitful coverup of multiple breaches in
protocol in handling potentially deadly organisms only made the drive to condemn
this siting all the more urgent. The MNA Congress on Health Policy and
Legislation and its Legislative Department is looking at Representative Gloria
Fox's bill (An Act to Protect the Public Health and Environment from Toxic
Biological Agents) to see if it is, as expected, consistent with the principles
laid out in the MNA position statement. Proposals to site Level 3 and Level 4
bioterror labs are cropping up across the country. This is all part of the
Bush/Cheney drive toward Armageddon, making about as much sense as the mass
vaccination of healthcare workers against smallpox and the preemptive invasion
of Iraq. Therefore public opposition to this madness should be part of Labor's
social and political agenda.

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