A number of professionals including an Agriculture Department scientist who had been working in the biotechnology labs are being infected by the E. coli bacteria. The Agriculture Department scientist went into coma for nearly a month after being infected.
In another similar incident, an American scientist lost his legs and one arm due to meningococcal bacterial infection.
Last September, a University of Chicago scientist lost his life after being infected by the bacteria which cases plague. Essentially, this was his subject of research.
An estimated 232,000 people in the country work in the biotech labs experimenting on subjects, ranging from deadly pathogens to genetically transforming cells.
Even the most sophisticated labs are rooms to hazards. Some of the analysts have exclaimed that majority of these labs violate the safety regulations.
The head of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration agreed that the agency’s 20th-century rules haven’t really modified to suit the 21st-century biotech industry.
“Worker safety cannot be sacrificed on the altar of innovation. We have inadequate standards for workers exposed to infectious materials”, said David Michaels, OSHA’s New Director.
This month, the agency released new regulations for providing information on occupational risks.