Breeding Bio Insecurity: How U.S. Biodefense Is Exporting Fear, Globalizing Risk, and Making Us All…

Hardcover | October 15, 2009

byLynn C. Klotz

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In the years since the 9/11 attacks—and the subsequent lethal anthrax letters—the United States has spent billions of dollars on measures to defend the population against the threat of biological weapons. But as Lynn C. Klotz and Edward J. Sylvester argue forcefully in Breeding Bio Insecurity, all that money and effort hasn’t made us any safer—in fact, it has made us more vulnerable.

Breeding Bio Insecurity reveals the mistakes made to this point and lays out the necessary steps to set us on the path toward true biosecurity. The fundamental problem with the current approach, according to the authors, is the danger caused by the sheer size and secrecy of our biodefense effort. Thousands of scientists spread throughout hundreds of locations are now working with lethal bioweapons agents—but their inability to make their work public causes suspicion among our enemies and allies alike, even as the enormous number of laboratories greatly multiplies the inherent risk of deadly accidents or theft. Meanwhile, vital public health needs go unmet because of this new biodefense focus. True biosecurity, the authors argue, will require a multipronged effort based in an understanding of the complexity of the issue, guided by scientific ethics, and watched over by a vigilant citizenry attentive to the difference between fear mongering and true analysis of risk.

An impassioned warning that never loses sight of political and scientific reality, Breeding Bio Insecurity is a crucial first step toward meeting the evolving threats of the twenty-first century.

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From the Publisher

In the years since the 9/11 attacks—and the subsequent lethal anthrax letters—the United States has spent billions of dollars on measures to defend the population against the threat of biological weapons. But as Lynn C. Klotz and Edward J. Sylvester argue forcefully in Breeding Bio Insecurity, all that money and effort hasn’t made us a...

Lynn C. Klotz is senior science fellow with the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Edward J. Sylvester is a science journalist and the author of three books on cutting-edge medical research, as well as the highly acclaimed The Gene Age, in which he and Lynn Klotz introduced lay audiences to the emerging biotechnology revolu...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:October 15, 2009Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226444058

ISBN - 13:9780226444055

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

1. Dangerous Crossing

2. A Future Bright and Dark

3. A Hawk Turns to Peace, Doves Go to War

4. Devils We’ve Known

5. Paranoia Begets Permissiveness

6. Dangerous Acquaintances

7. Who’s Minding the Store?

8. All Roads Must Lead to Public Health

9. Down to Grass Roots

10. Acting Globally

Editorial Reviews

“Breeding Bio Insecurity is indispensible to a full understanding of how, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the 2001 anthrax letter attacks, public dread of foreign bioterrorism was exploited to create an extravagant, unregulated, and destabilizing U.S. biodefense program. The appropriation of existing biomedical resources, the building of new and largely unnecessary high-containment laboratories, and the recruitment of thousands of scientists to conduct experiments on dangerous pathogens took place with most Americans—including political leaders—unaware of the increased risks these initiatives generated. Klotz and Sylvester's account of what went wrong and how to fix it is civic education at its best.”