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Boston City Council Hearing: Stop BSL4 Research in Boston.

When: Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Where: Boston City Hall - City Hall Plaza • City Council Chambers - 5th floor • State St. or Park St. T --Govt. Center T is closed

There will be a hearing on the Ordinance to Prohibit BSL4 Research in the Boston City Council chambers at City Hall.  The Coalition to Stop the BU Biolab is very excited that we finally have an opportunity to stop the lab.  We have three sponsors -- Charles Yancey, Tito Jackson, and Ayanna Pressley,  on record opposition to BSL4 research by the mayor, and statements of support from a majority of the Council.

 
The Boston City Council Committee on Government Operations, chaired by Councilors Michael Flaherty and Tito Jackson, will  hold a public hearing in the Council Chambers which is located in the 5th floor in Boston City Hall on: 

 

AN ORDINANCE REGARDING
THE PROHIBITION OF RESEARCH
DESIGNATED AS BIOSAFETY LEVEL 4 (BSL 4)

Sponsors: Councilors Charles Yancey, Tito Jackson & Ayanna Pressley

 PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND

This is a culminating event in the long struggle to make sure that Biosafety Level 4 research will never be done in Boston. The Center for Disease Control defines Biosafety Level 4  containment as ”required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease that is frequently fatal, and for which there are no vaccines or treatments.””  Disease-causing organisms used in BSL4 laboratories include viruses such as Ebola, Marburg virus, Lassa and Hemorrhagic fever.

Boston University’s  BSL4 laboratory, like those established in the immediate years following the 2002 anthrax scare, aims to fulfill a biodefense, not a public health mission.  Excessive concern with bioterrorism led to the proliferation of high containment labs which has come at the expense of much needed funding for public health research.

The  NEIDL laboratory (National Emerging Infectious Disease Lab) on Albany Street in Roxbury/South End is located in a designated environmental justice neighborhood which already suffers from an excess of environmental hazards.  The lab overshadows the community’s most at-risk groups, including guests at Rosie’s Place, children enrolled in Orchard Park Elementary School, and residents of the Cathedral Housing Development Residents of Roxbury, Dorchester, and other surrounding communities have repeatedly demonstrated their opposition to the NEIDL during 12 years of efforts to stop the labIt is difficult to fathom the decision to pursue such dangerous research in a densely populated, low income area in the middle of the city. 

Inadvertent or intentional release of pathogens has been named by the Centers for Disease Control as one of the top five health threats of 2013.  Accidents and other alarming incidents at BSL3  and BSL4 labs are numerous and continue to surface.. The Marathon bombing raises  awareness of the NEIDL as a potential terrorist target.   Improbable events do occur and when they do, they may have terrible consequences.

Please share this information with your friends and lists, particularly to people who live in Boston. We have a chance of stopping Level 4 research in our city if there is enough public awareness and action!

All who oppose this research can have input by emailing their testimony to:

Michael.F.Flaherty@boston.gov
Tito.Jackson@cityofboston.gov 
Ayanna.Pressley@cityofboston.gov
Charles.Yancey@cityofboston.gov

Your message can be as simple as,"I support the  Ordinance to Ban BSL 4 research in the City of Boston or it can be far more involved. What is important is that you let the City Councilors know you oppose this research."

Please attend if possible. We need to fill the Council Chambers with those who support the ban.

If you live in Boston be sure you cc copy to your district councilor and to at large councilors Michelle Wu and Stephen Murphy.

If you live outside of Boston please email you statement to the first four councilors listed above. Also cc copies to your State Senator, Representative, Mayor, Alderman, or Selectman as the case may be.

PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY

 

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