Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 11th, 2010

Fatal bacteriology labs: Where is OSHA to investigate safety?

There are 232,000 employed in bio-technology labs in the US.

Scientists manipulating fatal micro-organisms to fight bacteriological, virus, and genetically modified cells “terrorist” attacks are succumbing to serious health hazards.  Many scientists and personnel in these labs have died from handling E.Coli, plague, anthrax bacterium trying to find corresponding vaccines and anti-bodies.

A study related to virulent agents registered 1,500 serious cases between 1979-2004.

There is this Federal Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), created in 1972 with vast power for enforcing safety in private workplaces, trying to set new standards and regulations for these emerging hazardous workplaces such as bacteriological labs. Government, Federal and States, institutions, military, and public university are outside the jurisdiction of OSHA though the main regulations are applied for the safety of employees and workers.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) deals mainly in the health and infectious diseases or hospitals, pharmaceutical, and medical institutions.

The job of OSHA is far-reaching but not funded proportionally to its responsibilities.

OSHA has only 2,000 inspectors to covering 7 million private enterprises employing 130 million workers.

Thus, 80,000 workplaces and factories are somehow inspected yearly.  The “descent” of OSHA for inspection of targeted factories is mainly based on statistics.  Rate of injuries, fatal accidents, and level of risks in certain categories of work trigger actions.

Companies that failed to keeping records of injuries or were lax in sending periodic statements will be harassed for months on and their administration  and managers tied up in inquiries, responding to questions, and resolving unsafe practices.

Current director of OSHA, David Michaels, declared: “Security and safety of employed people (in labs that create live micro-organisms) should not be sacrificed at the altar of progress.  The current standards are not sufficient for the safety of people working in an environment polluted with infectious agents.”

The standards are applicable to labs and factories manipulating chemical products.  Thus, OSHA has launched a campaign of investigation and surveying the levels of risks of infectious agents.   Suggestions and recommendations will be collected and appropriate standards promulgated on a consensus basis with barons of industries.

In the US, it is the flooding of the judicial system in cases levied against enterprises that gets institutions into high gears.

So far, Becky McCain (52 years) who worked as molecular biologist at Pfizer (at Groton and employing 3,500 individuals) confirmed that she was paralyzed by a genetically modified virus.  The jury warded her $1.37 million because Pfizer fired McCain when she raised the unsafe and insecure working conditions in the company.

Since university and military labs do not fall within the OSHA register of injuries then, it is unknown how many cases similar to McCain is prevalent in the industry.  The federal government and the military have been experimenting with biological warfare since the surrender of Japan in 1945.

The Japanese bacteriological team or Unit 731 of General Ishii has been incorporated in the US military.  China and North Korea suffered again of bacteriological warfare by the US in 1950 after witnessing the Japanese warfare in 1944.

Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman relied on declassified archives in the US and China when they published “The biological warfare; 1998”

Billions of violent videos and pictures of gang assassinations, rape, crimes against children, pet animals, and other horror pornographic materials are published on the web every year.

YouTube, subsidiary of Google, screens “inappropriate” images that are signaled by users as “disenchanted”. Then, YouTube run a special program that scans the suspected image and if need be a “moderator” review the data for decision.  These “moderators” or web garbage collectors are hired for less than a year in order to reducing harmful psychological risks.

Facebook hires moderators working in Palo Alto and in Dublin (Ireland).  MySpace, subsidiary of News Corporations, outsource moderators in Orlando (Florida) and the Philippines.  Telecommunications On Demand (TOD), based in Orlando, is doing the dirty job for MySpace. TOD employs 50 moderators at the rate of $8 an hour screening senseless violent images for 8 hours a day.  The 50 employes screen about 20 million images per week.

The owner of TOD, David Graham, boast that his employees are “veteran combatants and completely insensitive to all kinds of horrible images.”  That statement is a lie. Ricky Bess, 52 of years and who worked in warehouses of Wal-Mart and Target, admitted puking, crying and feeling depressed. Moderators learned to seeking support with one another in difficult moments.

Many youths apply for these jobs thinking that it is fun being paid to screening pornographic materials.  They have no idea what is reserved in the garbage bins.  Most moderators are affected for life.

Patricia Laperal investigated the risks of this kind of job and evaluated 500 moderators in the Philippines.  She has set up a test for selecting applicants and another test for spotting early alarm symptoms among co-workers.

I hope Laperal has also suggested critical duration for employment, appropriate break times, shorter work days and rate of visualizing horror images.  I hope she contacted OSHA (US Safety and Health Agency)and submitted her recommendations for further safety and security standards in that job line.

Someone has to do this difficulty and risky job; he should be paid handsomely (not $8 per hour), and be offered an appropriate health package for mental risks and physical harmful symptoms.

I support the idea of screening images after being published and not before:  social web platforms should not invite censorship in its function because they meant to initiate and encourage common people to disseminate their free expressions, opinions, and reflected ideas.  I am glad that the written posts are not screened for any reason and social platforms will not slide into written censorship under pressures of the power-to-be.

The Book. Burning The Book 

Note:  This poem was written more than 10 years ago and is relevant any time, anywhere.  

In any upheaval, books are burned first.  Next comes burning of people.  

1. Friend, I don’t resent that you found the Truth,

The whole truth, in a book, The Book, or a few books.

I don’t mind that your book is

About faith, sciences, or philosophy.

2. I want you to know that

I do enjoy total Certainty,

Certainly not for a lifetime.

I do enjoy complete comfort in the mind,

One night at a time.

I cherish reading a different book a day,

To disturb my soul a bit longer;

To sharpen my suspicion,

In your stand, a tad deeper.

3. I hear that you don’t mean

To abridge my liberty for seeking knowledge,

To impinge on my freedom of opinion,

To impress your truths on me,

To burn down my libraries,

To limit my range of personalities.

I like to believe that you don’t mean it;

But if you don’t, what do you really mean?




September 2010

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