Area residents voice opinion in opposition to Boston biolab

A criminology expert and resident of Boston's South End, the proposed location of lab to study highly dangerous pathogens, recently sent a letter to the editors of the Boston Globe explaining his community's position against the project.

James Alan Fox's letter expresses the frustration and fear of many of those in the community that oppose the project. Fox, who works for the Boston Globe as writer of the blog Crime & Punishment, said that the newspaper was much too willing to dismiss the concerns of the neighborhood in a recent editorial and much too satisfied by assurances from U.S. National Institutes of Health scientists.

The NIH recently issued a nearly 2,000 page risk-assessment report in support of the project, but it did little to mollify critics who are seeking further unexamined scenarios of how a pathogen might escape into the surrounding area and feel helpless to stop the lab's further development.

"Indeed, no one can say with any degree of certainty whether the proposed research activities will be irresistibly attractive to intruders or insiders wishing to create havoc by releasing pathogens into a highly congested area," Fox wrote, the Boston Globe reports. "BU scientists may wish to experiment with hazardous biological agents, but they shouldn't experiment with the safety and well-being of the millions who live or work in the surrounding area."

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National Institutes of Health

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