Biosafety Laboratories: BSL-4 Laboratories Improved Perimeter Security Despite Limited Action by CDC

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Biosafety laboratories are primarily regulated by either the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), depending on whether the substances they handle pose a threat to the health of humans or plants, animals, and related products, respectively. Currently, all operational biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) labs are overseen by HHS's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BSL-4 labs handle the world's most dangerous agents and toxins that cause incurable and deadly diseases. In September 2008, GAO reported that two ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. July 7, 2009.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Biosafety laboratories are primarily regulated by either the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), depending on whether the substances they handle pose a threat to the health of humans or plants, animals, and related products, respectively. Currently, all operational biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) labs are overseen by HHS's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BSL-4 labs handle the world's most dangerous agents and toxins that cause incurable and deadly diseases. In September 2008, GAO reported that two of the five operational BSL-4 labs had less than a third of the key perimeter security controls GAO assessed and recommended that CDC implement specific perimeter controls for all BSL-4 labs. GAO was asked to (1) provide an update on what action, if any, CDC took to address the 2008 recommendation; (2) determine whether perimeter security controls at the two deficient BSL-4 labs had improved since the 2008 report; and (3) provide other observations about the BSL-4 labs it assessed. To meet these objectives, GAO reviewed CDC's statement to Congress as well as other agency and HHS documentation on actions taken or to be taken with respect to the 2008 recommendation, reviewed new security plans for the two deficient BSL-4 labs, and performed another physical security assessment of these two labs. GAO is not making any recommendations."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • July 7, 2009

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Biosafety Laboratories: BSL-4 Laboratories Improved Perimeter Security Despite Limited Action by CDC, report, July 7, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc297580/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.