BIOSENSOR BASICS BEGIN The Bush Administration is planning to turn environmental monitoring stations into a nationwide biotoxin warning system, according to the Times.
Under the system, the E.P.A. monitoring stations will send samples of a tissue-like paper from newly upgraded machines that filter air to the closest of some 120 laboratories across the country associated with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Results will be available within 24 hours, and possibly within 12 hours.It's an encouraging development, as blogger Phil Carter and others have point out. But it's only a partial solution: chemical agents won't be detected; and with the day-long lag time, the monitors will basically serve as a "consequences-management tool," helping to guide medical responses to a biological attack, Carter says.A more comprehensive detection program -- with near-instant analysis of biotoxins -- may not be too far way, however. See my recent Tech Central Station story for details.