Frederick, Maryland, holds public forum on Fort Detrick labs

The Frederick, Maryland-based Containment Laboratory Community Advisory Committee held a public forum Tuesday evening at Frederick City Hall to get the opinions of local residents on the biological defense laboratories at Fort Detrick.

The panel members, which included Frederick city and county government officials, were appointed in November to improve communication about the planned expansion of civilian and military biodefense laboratory space at the Frederick Army installation, FOX DC reports.

The committee is tasked with making recommendations to military and federal officials on the most effective ways to safeguard public health and public safety.

The expansion projects at Fort Detrick include an upgraded version of the military’s flagship infectious-disease lab. Other labs run by the federal departments of agriculture, homeland security, and health and human services will form an interagency biodefense campus at Fort Detrick.

According to Veterans Today, Fort Detrick has caused safety concerns in the past after experimentation with the chemical Agent Orange and similar defoliants between 1944 and 1951. Additional experiments between August 1961 and June 1963 using Agent Orange were acknowledged to be a cause of health problems for veterans who served at Fort Detrick. The Army is currently paying disability claims to those who were stationed there during that time.