No NBAF in Kansas

Real Biosecurity for the Heartland

Talking Points

· KSU wants to donate 45 campus acres to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (also known as the NBAF germ lab).

· The NBAF germ lab will be the largest of its kind in the world.

· The Deadliest Disease Germs in the World  (“High-Consequence Biological Threats”) will be studied in this Bio Security Level-4 (BSL-4) lab.

· Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), THE MOST INFECTIOUS ANIMAL DISEASE KNOWN!!!, as well as foreign diseases and zoonotic diseases that can pass from animals to people including Classical Swine Fever, African Swine Fever, Rift Valley Fever, Hendra Virus, Nipah Virus, Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia, and Japanese Encephalitis will be studied for starters at the NBAF.

· The NBAF will be a top-secret facility. No federal or state laws require that local officials or the general public be informed by the DHS of what diseases are actually being studied or for what purposes.

· The escape of infectious agents from the NBAF is of primary concern. Many accidents in BSL-4 and BSL-3 facilities have occurred in the U.S. and in international labs, causing illness in workers and necessitating the slaughter of exposed animals, resulting in enormous economic loss. Causes of accidents have included Human Error (most commonly), mechanical or power failures, an infected worker carrying the germ outside the lab, a malicious act by a worker (as in the recent anthrax deaths and scares). Other possibilities are a natural disaster like a tornado, earthquake, flood or hurricane, or an enemy or terrorist attack.

· This germ lab would be located near vulnerable human and animal populations. The proposed site is within one mile of a retirement community, an affordable-housing complex, a student recreational facility, a football stadium, a basketball arena, student housing, and two busy thoroughfares; 450,000 livestock are maintained in Riley County and in adjacent counties. Pets could be affected as well.

· In case of a disease outbreak, serious social and economic disruption would result from the enforcement of quarantines, and restrictions on the movement of people and animals. The first line of containment would involve the extermination of livestock. Losses in a major center of animal production like Kansas would be devastating. Such an outbreak of FMD did occur in the United Kingdom in 2001, necessitating the slaughter of more than 6 million animals; costs to the Brittish government and noncompensated losses were $30 billion.

· Disposal of wastes and carcasses of large animals infected with deadly pathogens will be a problem. Disposal could be by incineration, alkaline hydrolysis, or rendering, which could pollute our air and watersheds, foul our land, and strain our water supplies. Will a toxic waste site be left after the lab becomes obsolete in 40-50 years?

· Unexpectedly virulent strains, neutralization of immune response, or release of infectious aerosols can result from genetic or other experimental manipulations of infectious agents, increasing the risks of accidental outbreaks and infections.

· No federal entity knows how many BSL-4 and BSL-3 germ labs are in the U.S. or where they are located; no federal requirements exist for reporting accidents in germ labs.

· The problem of “ dual- purpose” cannot be ignored. The same disease organisms and methods used for legitimate bio-defensive research could, in the wrong hands, just as easily be used to make bio-weapons.

Of course the USA needs to be able to defend against germ warfare threats ― we cannot afford to be second-best at this. But research should not endanger our livestock, our livelihoods, or us. Prevention is the only cure. Germ Research Should Remain On An Island, like Plum Island, NY, where Deadly Diseases like FMD have been studied for more than 60 years.





“Foot and Mouth Disease Threatens 450,000 Cattle in Riley and Adjacent Counties”

You may well read this headline if the Dept of Homeland Security is successful in placing the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Kansas to study FMD and other deadly diseases !!!!




1.) FMD is “the most highly infectious viral animal disease that is known”! ! ! !


2.) Only 10 inhaled viral particles are needed to infect a cow or sheep for some strains of FMD. One infected pig produces 400 million viral particles/day.

3.) FMD can be wind-borne for 30 miles over land and 10 miles over water.

4.) FMD has 7 types and 80+ subtypes. Vaccination for one type of FMD does not protect animals against infection from the other types.

5.) FMD escaped from the Federal Plum Island Research Facility in 1978 (resulting in the slaughter of all animals on the island). Six other internal releases of FMD occurred there from 1971-2004. All of these releases were related to HUMAN ERROR and none were related to insufficient containment technology! ! ! !

6.) A FMD outbreak in the U.K. in 2001 cost the public and private sectors over $15 billion and 6+ million animals were slaughtered. An accidental release of FMD at the Pirbright facility in U.K. in 2007 led directly to eight separate outbreaks of FMD on farms surrounding the Pirbright lab.

7.) The Department of Homeland Security has not conducted any studies to determine whether FMD work can be done safely on the mainland.

All information is from the Government General Accountability Office “Report to Congress on High-Containment Biosafety Laboratories,” May 22, 2008.


Say No to Germ Lab in Kansas! ! !

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2 Responses to “Talking Points”

  1. Tyler Damond said

    As someone who has worked in the design process for some of the worst DOE, DHS, and DOE facilities, you have no clue on the amount of redundant safety features these facilities have. Preliminary Hazard Analysis (PHA) are performed to where the risk assessment threshold is reduced to near no possible risk, with exception to human sabotage. If this is an arguing point for your group (someone is going to make a release happen) they will do it in New York, NY or Manhattan, Ks … It doesn’t matter where the building is, if someone wants to have the biggest impact possible, they will make it happen. The recent report of a 70% chance does not take into effect ANY mitigating features this facility will have! NONE!!! So yes, the likelihood might be at 70% but that is before the mitigating safety features are identified in the PHA, and redundant safety features included to drop this percent to near 1%. With the remaining 1% requiring human intervention to make a release possible. As far as animal waste and carcasses creating a hazardous waste site, the animals are euthanized then disposed of in acid baths. The only thing remaining might be some of the larger bones which once dipped in the acid bath and allowed to soak, have a 0% chance of any hazard, and can be discarded with normal trash. You guys make me laugh!!! LMAO!

  2. Save_PIADC said


    Thanks for visiting and you created a nice strawman. The location of FMD research most certainly makes a difference in the impact an accidental release has.

    For starters, let’s talk susceptible species. Plum Island is located on the tip of Long Island. Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island constitute a highly urbanized, 110 mile “fire break” between PIADC and the US mainland. Throw in urban, northern NJ and you are looking at 140-160 miles before you get into any density of species susceptible to FMD. Furthermore, Suffolk County, NY has less than 300 animals susceptible to FMD. It also has no stickyards, auction barns, dairy or finishing operations. Southeastern CT is quite similar. Even if those few animals get FMD, they don’t usually go anywhere and their illness we be detected before they leave their premises.

    Your strawman is that the only risk of FMD relaese comes from carcasses. This is not true and you know it. The real danger is mechanical transmission and human error. This has always been the greatest risk of FMD transmission in labs and this is well documented in the GAO’s very fine 2008 and 2009 reports. FMD virus can be mechanically transmitted by individuals who work in animal rooms with FMD infected animals. This is why all PIADC employees must observe a 5 day personally recognizant quarantine away from susceptible species every time they leave the lab. This is relatively easy to do in NY and CT. Not so much in KS.

    It is a foolish tempting of fate to blindly trust that all NBAF personnel – even lowly paid cleaning contractors – will observe this quarantine. Humans are human. Do we really expect everyone to miss “Grandma’s 80th Birthday” on the ranch because of personally recognizant quarantine. If you do, you are hopelessly naive.

    An FMD release in Manhattan, KS would be catstrophic.

    BSL-3Ag reaserch with large animals is nothing like BSL-4 research done in cabinets and gloveboxes at CDC and USAMRIID.

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