Health Canada National Microbiology Lab: Leaks, Spills, Incidents
Health Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg is the first in world to decode the genetic makeup of the H1N1 flu virus. It contains some of the world's deadliest pathogens behind air-tight walls and biosafety cabinets.
... new documents reveal Canada's National Microbiology Lab isn't immune to leaks, spills and failures in restricted areas where lethal organisms are housed. Health Canada documents obtained through an access-to-information request reveal close to 250 internal incidents — ranging from equipment failures to potential chemical exposures — were reported in the lab between 2005 and 2009.
The incidents range in severity and include benign finger cuts, potential exposures to chemicals and viruses such as avian influenza, and equipment failures in Level 3 and 4 containment labs.
Reports that a lab employee was transferring vials across the border in his glove compartment raises security concerns for Canada's Class IV Laboratories.