Independent scientists to assess Fort Detrick risk

Independent scientists at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, will assist the U.S. Army in assessing the risks posed by additional proposed bioresearch laboratories.

The National Research Council recently announced that it will test the validity of the environmental impact statement released by the Army for the proposed Medical Countermeasures Test and Evaluation Facility, according to

The council is a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, a nonprofit organization based in the Washington, D.C. area. The organization is known for advising the U.S. government on science and technology matters.

The Medical Countermeasures Test and Evaluation Facility would be the fourth building planned for the fort’s National Interagency Biodefense Campus, reports. It would make the campus the nation’s largest center dedicated to preparing for a bioterror emergency.

The council’s findings, though important, are not binding. The council recently conducted a similar risk assessment on the Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and made a report critical of the way that the hazards posed by the new buildings were assessed.

In that instance, reports. the council expressed its confidence in the Army’s ability to stick to its safety measures and protocols, but stopped short of saying that construction needed to be halted.