News of the WeekBIOTERRORISM

New Law May Force Labs To Screen Workers

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Science  02 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5544, pp. 971-973
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5544.971

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Last week President George W. Bush signed into law an antiterrorism measure that gives spy and police agencies broad new investigative powers. It also bars several classes of people--including felons, the mentally ill, and those from nations deemed "terrorist" by the U.S. government--from possessing certain viruses, toxins, and microorganisms that could be used as weapons. The new rules may force universities to conduct criminal background checks and drug tests on thousands of scientists and students who study any of some 40 deadly agents.