Ever since reading Richard Preston's infectious novel, The Hot Zone, I've been wary of laboratories that work with infectious agents. Today, MSNBC.com had an article on the stringent safety precautions -- or lack there of -- in US labs. Five years ago, President Bush pushed for an upgrade in the nation's biowarfare defense program, and, as a result, the number of labs handling dangerous agents has doubled. While US citizens may now be better protected from attacks of bioterrorism, people are now more susceptible to accidental leaks from laboratory work -- currently 409 US labs have access to many of the world's most dangerous agents. Accidents at these labs have involved anthrax, bird flu virus, monkeypox and plague-causing bacteria. Since 2003 more than 100 accidents and missing shipments have occurred -- and this number is only increasing. Scary stuff, if you ask me. Hopefully US labs will start taking this matter more seriously as the public's health lays on the line. Check out the article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21096974/.