Skip to comments.Health Expert: Anthrax Threat Greatly Exaggerated
Posted on 10/12/2001 8:58:39 PM PDT by kattracks
The current media hysteria over a potential anthrax attack by terrorists is more hype than real health risk.
So claims health expert Steven Milloy, author of "Junk Science Judo: Self Defense Against Health Scares and Scams."
Writing in the New York Post Friday, Milloy slams the American Public Health Association for its claim that, "One-billionth of a gram (of anthrax), smaller than a speck of dust, can kill."
In fact, says Milloy, "one spore, even thousands, will not kill anyone."
"Wool sorters inhale 150 to 700 anthrax spores an hour continually without danger. Studies show that inhaling 10,000 spores is necessary for infection," he reports.
American Media's Bob Stevens, the only American to suffer a lethal dose of anthrax in the recent scare, is said to have been so farsighted that he held a letter believed to have been contaminated with anthrax especially close to his face in order to read it.
There may be more isolated cases like Stevens', says Milloy, but the dangers of widespread infection are slim.
"Even assuming terrorists knew how to make mass quantities of powdered anthrax without killing workers and surrounding populations, production would cost hundreds of millions of dollars," he argues. "Purchasing unemployed, ex-Soviet bioweapons experts is insufficient."
What about the reported plans of Twin Tower terrorist Mohamed Atta and his coconspirators to rent crop dusters and spay anthrax on population centers?
Airplanes dusting a city with spores aren't much use, Milloy contends.
"The few spores entering buildings would mostly settle; the few that didn't would likely be insufficient in concentration to cause infection. Outside, spores would mostly fall to the ground or be blown away and rendered harmless."
Milloy warns that while Americans have little to fear from anthrax, the panic caused by the current hype could be more dangerous.
"Anthrax infection initially resembles the flu.... More than 100 million people in the U.S. may well have flu-like symptoms in the near future. Should every cough, sore throat, runny nose and headache be considered a possible case of anthrax?
"Only if we want to bring our public health system to a grinding halt," says Milloy.
Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
War on Terrorism
Ya think so?
Anyhow, it keeps the leftist newsies occupided and not preoccupied with Taliban generated "civilian" casualty claims.
If these anthrax letters are being sent by terrorist, they must be the dumbest terrorist in the world. Total damage so far: 1 dead, 1 assistant to Tom Brokaw with a bad rash. It's not exactly as shocking as the press make it out to be.
Let's get back to the war
I agree that much of this is probably copycat. There are some real sickos out there. I think the "hate crime" laws are bad for America, but it would feel good to prosecute copycats under such.
If a person mails talcum powder... in an apparent effort to cause panic... and they get caught, what penalties will they face?
Is there a "shouting fire in a crowded theater" law?
Not saying there oughta be one, just curious.
"Has that clinton "legacy" made you feel safer yet?"
Anthrax is in every barn yard. I'm more worried about smallpox: The pc stopped vaccination years ago, and it has a long history of use.
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