An act to reauthorize certain programs under the Public Health Service Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to public health security and all-hazards preparedness and response, and for other purposes.
Browse By Region
Browse By Type
Browse By Date Range
Hearing on “5 and 10 Year Homeland Security Goals: Where We Need to Be As a Nation and How We Judge Progress”
This document is a statement made by Paul N. Stockton to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security on challenges within the Department of Homeland Security in responding to flaws made apparent by Hurricane Katrina and anticipating and preparing for what’s to come.
By Paul N. Stockton
- June 29, 2011
On July 11, 2006, the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) convened an invitational meeting to discuss high-containment biodefense research in the United States. Our goal was to analyze whether and how the growing numbers of laboratories could be operated safely, productively, and with respect for the communities in which they are placed. The group was composed of distinguished scientists and experts in biosafety, biosecurity, and public health and included proponents of the laboratories as well as those who oppose the recent expansion. Participants were not asked to reach consensus on the topics discussed; rather, the intention was to spur an open discussion of key issues related to high-containment laboratory research and to seek proposals for constructive action.
- February 21, 2012
High-Containment Biosafety Laboratories – HS Lacks Evidence to Conclude That Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Can Be Done Safely on the U.S. Mainland
DHS is proposing to move foot-and mouth disease (FMD) research from its current location at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center–located on a federally owned island off the northern tip of Long Island, New York–and potentially onto the United States mainland. FMD is the most highly infectious animal disease that is known. Nearly 100 percent of exposed animals become infected. A single outbreak of FMD on the U.S. mainland could have significant economic consequences. Concerns have been raised about moving FMD research off its island location and onto the U.S. mainland–where it would be in closer proximity to susceptible animal populations–as opposed to building a new facility on the island. GAO was asked to evaluate the evidence DHS used to support its decision that FMD work can be done safely on the U.S. mainland, whether an island location provides any additional protection over and above that provided by modern high containment laboratories on the mainland, and the economic consequences of an FMD outbreak on the U.S. mainland. In preparing this testimony, GAO interviewed officials from DHS and USDA, talked with experts in FMD and high-containment laboratories worldwide, and reviewed studies on FMD, high-containment laboratories, and the economic consequences of FMD outbreaks. GAO also visited the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and other animal biocontainment laboratories in other countries.
- March 12, 2012
High-Containment Biosafety Laboratories – Preliminary Observations on the Oversight of the Proliferation of BSL-3 and BSL-4 Laboratories in the United States
In response to the global spread of emerging infectious diseases and the threat of bioterrorism, high-containment biosafety laboratories (BSL)–specifically biosafety level (BSL)-3 and BSL-4–have been proliferating in the United States. These labs–classified by the type of agents used and the risk posed to personnel, the environment, and the community–often contain the most dangerous infectious disease agents, such as Ebola, smallpox, and avian influenza. This testimony addresses (1) the extent to which there has been a proliferation of BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs, (2) federal agencies’ responsibility for tracking this proliferation and determining the associated risks, and (3) the lessons that can be learned from recent incidents at three high-containment biosafety labs. To address these objectives, GAO asked 12 federal agencies involved with high-containment labs about their missions and whether they tracked the number of labs overall. GAO also reviewed documents from these agencies, such as pertinent legislation, regulation, and guidance. Finally, GAO interviewed academic experts in microbiological research.
- March 12, 2012