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Posted Tue Jun 15 2010: from Scientific American:
Terror in a Vial
When it comes to countering the threat of biological weapons, most governments, including that of the U.S., are still mired in a decades-old nuclear-arms model geared toward preventing hostile nations from acquiring closely guarded weapons-making materials. It is an approach unsuited to the modern reality wherein nonstate actors are more likely than states to use biological warfare agents and the growth of biotechnology is only making those weapons easier to come by. Security experts have long warned that would-be terrorists no longer need to steal deadly pathogens when commonplace genetic engineering techniques could turn a benign microbe into a killer or synthetic biology tools might be used to build a virus from scratch.... Ken Coleman and Raymond A. Zilinskas point to a proliferation of international counterfeiters cashing in on the craze for the wrinkle-smoothing drug Botox, whose active ingredient botulinum neurotoxin is one of the deadliest poisons on earth. Many of the sales take place through Web sites, and most of the counterfeits contain real toxin, meaning that basement brewers may already be cultivating lethal toxin-making bacteria to satisfy avid consumer demand. The authors ask, What is to stop those criminals from simply selling pure toxin to terrorists instead? In fact, what is to stop terrorists themselves from getting into the bootleg Botox business, for profit and easy access to toxin?
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'Doc Jim says:
Hey, I've been ingesting BPA, pthalates, and heavy metals all my life. Think I'm afraid of a little Botox?

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