Battelle says its anthrax labs are secure

Battelle Memorial Institute recently asserted that anthrax and other biological agents used in research at its West Jefferson, Ohio, facilities are examined only under strict security procedures.

Battelle said that its security policies are designed to keep the scientists working with the agents and the surrounding public safe, according to

“There are security cameras, guards, alarms and locks, and we have a two-person rule,” Katy Delaney, a Battelle spokeswoman, said, reports. “No one person can be in a lab with those sorts of materials by themselves.”

Delaney’s comments came in the wake of reports that security was lax at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases lab at Fort Detrick in Maryland. The FBI deemed the Maryland lab to be the source of the anthrax used in the 2001 mail attacks that killed five people and injured 17 others.

Two long-secret government reports completed in 2002 determined that any researcher, aide or temporary worker would have been capable of leaving the lab with enough anthrax needed to grow the spores used in the attacks.

Battelle did not manage the Fort Detrick lab, but has operated national laboratories for the Department of Energy, according to

One of the recently released reports said that Battelle had limited regulations and no screening for individuals assigned to work with anthrax and other pathogens.

Delaney said that Battelle required routine criminal background checks for years before the 2001 attacks and added drug testing in 1989. She said that all researchers working with anthrax also had to pass more rigorous U.S. Department of Defense screening.

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