Sunday, October 12, 2008

NIH Blue Ribbon Panel Biolab Hearing

Via Universal Hub: there will be a hearing this Tuesday in Roxbury about the biosafety level 4 facility BU still hopes to build right next to a million Greater Bostonians. From the Federal Register:

There will be a meeting of the NIH Blue Ribbon Panel to advise on the Risk Assessment of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL). The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 14, 2008, at the Roxbury Center for the Arts, Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street, Roxbury, MA 02119 from approximately 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Discussions will focus on principles and strategies for effective community engagement. There will also be time allotted on the agenda for public comment.
Sign up for public comment will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. on October 14, 2008. In the event that time does not allow for all those interested to present oral comments, anyone may file written comments using the address below.
For further information concerning this meeting contact Ms. Laurie Lewallen, Advisory Committee Coordinator, Office of Biotechnology Activities, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, Mail Stop Code 7985, Bethesda, MD 208927985, telephone 3014969838, email Background information may be obtained by contacting NIH OBA by email
Dated: September 16, 2008.
Kelly R. Fennington,
Special Assistant to the Director, Office of Biotechnology Activities, National Institutes of Health.
[FR Doc. E822313 Filed 92208; 8:45 am]

ACE also promises a webcast at

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Plague of Bedbugs

Via Tech San: the UK Telegraph reports on a plague of bedbugs in Spain this September.

Convents and hostels along the route to the north-western Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela have become infested by bedbugs, spread by the more than 100,000 pilgrims who travel to the shrine of St James every
The insects, which bury themselves deep inside mattresses and pillows in the pilgrims' quarters, are causing untold numbers of travellers to have sleepless nights and are responsible for many falling ill on the way.
The Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago has proposed a simultaneous clean up at all overnight stops along the route from the town of Roncesvalles on the French border in the Pyrenees.
"It's a plague and it's incredibly dangerous," said Angel Luis Barreda from the organisation that oversees the pilgrimage path.

It's actually not the case that bedbugs nest in "deep inside mattresses and pillows." They prefer nooks and crannies in wood, from which they emerge at night when they detect the carbon dioxide emissions of sleeping humans.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Goo-goo Melamine, Part V

Although China claims its milk is no longer contaminated with melamine, the scandal continues to spread. Melamine-contaminated products have been found in Siberia, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, and even Utah. The FDA has produced a safety/risk assessment for melamine. While unable to set a level for infants, they did provide one for adults:

In food products other than infant formula, the FDA concludes that levels of melamine and melamine-related compounds below 2.5 parts per million (ppm) do not raise concerns.

The BBC reports that several animals in a Chinese zoo near Shanghai were fed the contaminated milk powder for over a year:

Concerned keepers sent the animals for a check up after hearing about the milk contamination and have now stopped feeding with Sanlu milk.
The orang-utans and the lion are the only animals to have developed kidney stones and are being treated for the condition.
Officials at the Beijing Zoo and zoos in the other major cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xian said they had no cases of animals sickened from milk powder, the Associated Press reported.