Maryland residents given chance to voice concerns over biocontainment labs

Residents of Frederick, Maryland, have been invited to voice their concerns over the high-level biocontaiment labs in Frederick County on April 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Frederick City Hall.

The meeting gives the Containment Laboratory Community Advisory Committee the ability to concentrate on its efforts as a watchdog for laboratory activities in the county, including the lab in nearby Fort Detrick, reports.

The committee, which was appointed in November by county and city officials, works as the bridge between the lab operators in Frederick County and members of the community. The county has two biosafety level 3 labs outside of Fort Detrick’s gates and a level 4 lab within Fort Detrick.

The level 4 lab - the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick - researches pathogens like anthrax that have no cure.

One of the level 3 labs is the Southern Research Institute on Aviation Way in Frederick. The other level 3 lab information has not been provided, much to the chagrin of local biological safety researcher F. Alex Hamill.

“There is zero reason for that,” Hamill said, according to

This meeting is meant to address community concerns, including the secrecy of the second level 3 lab. The committee intends to present the questions from the meeting to the laboratories directly.

“It will be useful to be able to provide a structured set of questions so that we don’t end up with a PowerPoint presentation on something we are not interested in,” Beth Willis, the committee chair said, according to “We can use questions from the public at the meeting to put those together.”