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BIOTERRORISM PREPAREDNESS....EHS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
by Cheri Hildreth Watts, University of Louisville

My thanks to all of you that have shared your internal declaration forms, memos and newly developed policies on Select Agents. Now more than ever, EHS is truly in the spotlight and taking a leadership role in helping our institutions meet the huge challenge of the mandatory data collection effort and of course the additional security requirements that will follow. Our collegiality and dedication to best practices has really proven to be an asset in helping each of us meet the challenges that academic research institutions are starting to face in the post September 11thera. Also, as a result of our information sharing, university presidents are now receiving the Select Agent data collection forms after initially being left off the distribution list! Our collective work on internal disclosure forms and instructions was posted on NACUBO's web site as template to help others.

Available at http://www.nacubo.org/public_policy/

Needless to say, we are all struggling with the multiple notification form issue. Maybe at our Fall meeting, we can have a contest to see who received the most. I think Max Richard at UAB may be in the lead with 130 forms as of yesterday! At .52 cents per piece for postage, I figure that ~$104,000 of our tax dollars have been spent just to mail the notification forms. Postcards are next!

On August 23rd, CDC published their revised list of Select Agents in the Federal Register which finally included a clarification on the toxins exemption. The exemptions are tied to quantity not LD50. This proposed list deletes and adds select agents. The deadline for comments is September 17, 2002. IT IS NOT TO BE USED IN THE DATA WE ARE COLLECTING WHICH IS DUE SEPTEMBER 10th. The PDF FOR THIS FR IS AVAILABLE BELOW.

Additionally, I am posting a few related resource documents that some of you may not have seen yet. ABSA has developed a good summary of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 with time frames based on the statute's effective date on June 12th. Their Biosecurity Task Force also developed also developed a white paper on understanding biosecurity. Finally, APHIS has developed their form for the nine ( 9) plant pathogens that were published in the August 12th Federal Register along with a question and answer fact sheet. All PDFs are available below.

Federal Register - Revised list of Select Agents - PDF*

Letter from the Bioxecurity Task Force - PDF*

H.R.3488 Public Health Security & Bioterrorism Response Act of 2002 - PDF*

Q & A about the Public Health Security & Bioterrorism Response Act of 2002 - PDF*

Notification of Possession or Use of Listed Plant Pathogens - US Dept. of Agriculture - PDF*

Finally I have confirmed that, Dr. Ron Atlas, a frequent guest speaker at our meetings, will be joining us for the Fall 2002 Roundtable scheduled Nov. 19-20th. He will brief us on the evolving bioterrorism preparedness interim regulations due out December 9th since we will all have to prepare to comply within 60 days. FYI, Ron will be giving the keynote address at ABSA this year which will be October 20-23 in San Francisco.

I look forward to seeing all of you in November at our 10th Bi-Annual EHS Director's Roundtable! We have another ten schools that have asked to be added to the list that will receive invitations to attend. So when we send out the registration packets around the middle of October don't wait because it will be on first come basis.




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