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Lawmaker unveils plans for a bioterrorism protection bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is developing legislation to tightly restrict security over the research use of toxins and biological agents.

Feinstein, speaking at a Tuesday hearing titled "Germs, Toxins and Terror," told panelists she wants to require the certification of laboratories or individuals before allowing access to or possession of such materials.

Her bioterrorism protection bill, still in the development stages, would impose security and training standards as well as require proof of a legitimate purpose for having toxins or biological agents.

Researchers use such materials for peaceful purposes, including the development of treatments, vaccines and antidotes to exposure.

Feinstein's bill would:

-- Separately certify each agent and the intended legitimate research or medical purpose by a given laboratory or individual;

-- Require periodic site inspections;

-- Require the demonstration of skills and training to handle such material;

-- Certify proper disposal of biological agents and toxins;

-- Require background checks and registration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of anyone handling such material;

-- Review and revise the current list of dangerous agents and toxins maintained by the CDC, in consultation with the attorney general, and the secretaries of Health and Human Services and Defense.

Feinstein's plan, to be developed this week as draft legislation, would prohibit the transfer of toxins and biological agents to uncertified labs and individuals, under a penalty of as much as $500,000 and a year in prison. Those who receive materials without certification would also face such punishment.

-- Producer Brad Wright contributed to this story.



 
 
 
 



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