Feds Kept Bio Lab Mishaps Under Wraps

More than one thousand lab accidents involving potential bioterror germs occurred from 2008 through 2012, but the federal government has largely kept the details hidden from the public. More than half were severe enough that workers needed medical evaluations. In five of them, lab workers actually became infected or contracted illnesses. In two others, animals were inadvertently infected with diseases that could have severely threatened livestock industries. But details about the incidents, including even which labs they occur in, are largely kept under wraps by the government. Government lab safety has come under scrutiny since the inadvertent Anthrax exposure incident this summer, but biosafety expert Richard Ebright said it only became “known to the public only because the number of persons requiring medical evaluation was too high to conceal.” According to him, there are many more we never learn about from the government. "More than 200 incidents of loss or release of bioweapons agents from U.S. laboratories are reported each year. This works out to more than four per week.”