CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* USAMRIID could not find any decon records from the relevant time period

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 23, 2011

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2 Responses to “* USAMRIID could not find any decon records from the relevant time period”

  1. Submit separate requests for each room in the B3 Suite and even if they redact the room number, you know which one it is.

  2. DXer said

    EPA reports that paraformadehyde is licensed for use at USAMRIID, Plum Island and by USDA at Ames, IA. What is the document retention for a licensee? Why bother ever throwing out such records (which would not be at all voluminous? Perhaps EPA licensing authority can track down any dates in September or October 2001 that paraformaldehyde was used (and the same can be done for the USDA Ames facility for 2001).

    Anthrax spore decontamination using paraformaldehyde

    Resources

    • Questions On Pesticides?
    National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) 1-800-858-7378

    Current as of July 2007

    Bleach, chlorine dioxide, ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide and peroxyacetic acid, methyl bromide, paraformaldehyde and vaporized hydrogen peroxide were pesticides used in federal decontamination responses to the bioterrorism attacks of October 2001. These attacks involved the intentional placement of Bacillus anthracis spores (the causative agent of the disease anthrax) into letters addressed to various locations on the East Coast of the United States. More information about biological threats.

    This page describes the Agency’s actions with regard to the chemicals used in the anthrax spore decontamination activities. EPA temporarily approved these pesticides for sale, distribution, and use based on the remediation action plans submitted for each specific site and only in accordance with the requirements of each crisis exemption under Section 18 of FIFRA. These chemicals were not intended for use by the general public.

    What is paraformaldehyde?

    Paraformaldehyde is a white, crystalline powder with the odor of formaldehyde that has been used for more than 30 years to decontaminate laboratory facilities and to disinfect sickrooms, clothing, linen, and sickroom utensils. When heated, paraformaldehyde releases formaldehyde gas, which is the actual decontaminant.

    Registration of pesticides containing paraformaldehyde

    In 1964, under the authority of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), paraformaldehyde was first registered as a sanitizer and fungicide for use on barber and beauty shop equipment. Since then, paraformaldehyde has been registered as a disinfectant, sanitizer, fungicide, and microbiocide. Sites for which this chemical was registered include household and domestic dwellings; ships and ship holds; bedding and clothing; and nonfood/nonfeed-transporting trucks.

    Until 1991, paraformaldehyde was also registered for control decontamination of laboratories and experimental animal facilities. However, all registrations for this use and many of the other uses described above were canceled due to nonpayment of registration maintenance fees by the manufacturer.

    Subsequently, only two products remain registered. Since the laboratory use of paraformaldehyde has not been registered since 1991 and no alternatives are available, EPA has also issued several quarantine exemptions (and usually renews them every three years) to continue this use for specific federal agencies:

    • United States Department of Agriculture ( USDA) for use of paraformaldehyde in a poultry health laboratory in Arkansas;
    • U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) for laboratory decontamination; and
    • USDA to decontaminate high-containment microbiological laboratories at Plum Island, NY, and Ames, IA.

    http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/chemicals/paraformaldehyde_factsheet.htm

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