Thursday, September 8, 2011

Protests against Dangerous Biolab in Boston

WILPF Boston is active in the Stop the Bioterror Lab Coalition anchored by Safety Net Roxbury and composed of several groups and concerned individuals. The Boston University Level 4 Lab would be the 5th or 6th known level 4 lab in the US. These labs are intended to research the most deadly microorganisms known for which there are no cures. Unfortunately, most of the agents listed in the Request for Proposal are known to be of interest for Bioweapons purposes. They are not organisms that are on the public health agenda for Boston or the United States in general. This raises concern of research serving a dangerous purpose in that any supposed defensive research also serves possible offensive applications. For more information on the Bioweapons treaty of 1975, its shortcomings and efforts to strengthen it, see the WILPF UN Reaching Critical Will project page. The BU Biolab is to be housed in a building nearing completion on Albany Street but the lab cannot become operational until it receives a license from the State. Because of community opposition and legal challenges in State and Federal courts, this NIH funded initiative does not have the final go ahead. However, it has received powerful support from both Massachusetts Senators and several representatives. A number of nearby communities including Cambridge, Newton, Arlington, Brookline and Somerville have passed resolutions opposing the placing of this lab in a densely populated urban community because of safety concerns.For more information on the current opposition to the BU Biolab, visit the Stop the Bioterror Lab Coalition web site.

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