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Fuss, Fines and Imprisonment

Read about the researchers and others who have been scrutinized and worse through their transfer, use or possession of biological and other materials.

Some of the main ways you can get into trouble involve:

  • The USA Patriot Act of 2001 – Public Law 107–56

TITLE VIII—STRENGTHENING THE CRIMINAL LAWS AGAINST TERRORISM

Sec. 817. Expansion of the biological weapons statute.
Chapter 10 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in section 175—

(C) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:

(b) ADDITIONAL OFFENSE—Whoever knowingly possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system of a type or in a quantity that, under the circumstances, is not reasonably justified by a prophylactic, protective, bona fide research, or other peaceful purpose, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

Headlines involving this law follow:

  • The PUBLIC HEALTH SECURITY AND BIOTERRORISM PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE ACT OF 2002 - Public Law 107-188; Final rulings are 42 CFR 73 (humans), 7 CFR 331 (USDA plants) and 9 CFR 121 (USDA animals) that went into effect April 18, 2005. These are the laws and regulations governing biological agents (Select Agents) thought to be likely candidates for use as bioweapons. This is where the current Select Agent List comes from. Transfer use or possession of these agents without proper federal authorization leads to large fines and/or imprisonment.
     
  • Use of animals without proper and current institutional authorization. Authorization includes documenting with and receiving approval from the Animal Care Committee (ACC or IACUC) about, 1) who is working with animals and their current Center for Lab Animal Care (CLAC) training, 2) what procedures are being performed, 3) where they are being performed, and 4) having an approved safety protocol for hazardous procedures. If you have questions about your authorizations, contact the ACC coordinator at 860-679-4129, or pohl@uchc.edu.
     
  • Improper Shipping: incorrect labeling, incorrect packaging, transport on your person, etc. Headlines:
     
  • Exporting the wrong thing to the wrong person or place. See also this document about exporting problems.
     
  • Improper storage and disposal of hazardous waste.
     
  • Not following proper procedures and getting sued by someone who sustains injury as a result.
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