Though anthrax has turned American Media Inc's Florida headquarters into a 6,300m2 white elephant and workers are reluctant to return, experts in decontamination say new products can make such buildings safe again. \n"I, personally, would go into the building," says general counsel Mike Kahane, whose office was located in the three-story Boca Raton center that housed six of the nation's largest tabloids. "But I know many people don't feel the same way I do." \nBut experts say they can deal with anthrax-contaminated buildings, noting that no one would dream of abandoning such landmarks as the US Senate office building and NBC headquarters at New York's 30 Rockefeller Plaza just because traces of the deadly bacteria were found there. \n"You can't walk away from these buildings all over the United States," says Joan Dougherty, president of AA Trauma Cleanup in Pompano, Florida, an environmental cleanup company. \nIf the old reliable bleach and water method were the only thing available, it would be nearly impossible to clean up all the anthrax without gutting the affected areas. But people in the decontamination business are pinning their hopes on a new product developed at a government laboratory with congressional backing. \nOfficials are conducting tests on a bacteria-killing agent developed by Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is run by Lockheed Martin Corp for the US Department of Energy. The product, known in the industry as the "SNL formulation," can be used as a liquid, gel, foam, aerosol or fog. \nAnthrax spores are 1 to 5 microns in size and act like a hard shell for the bacteria. They are resistant to heat, cold, drought and radiation exposure, and can persist for decades or longer in soil. \nThe Sandia product is designed to break down the coating and attack the DNA. Ron Gospodarski, president of Bio-Recovery Corp in New York, says anthrax spores tend to clump and settle on surfaces, where this agent can reach them. \n"These spores can't burrow themselves into walls and can't burrow themselves into the flooring or the ceiling or anything like that," he says. "So when we come in and fog or we come in and foam or we come in and put topical applications of the SNL formulation, it's going to kill everything that's there." \nAMI employees are worried about anthrax in the air ducts and on computer keyboards, like the one used by deceased photo editor Robert Stevens. Gospodarski says the fog particles are smaller than the spores and can go anyplace anthrax can. \n"We're pushing that into all the little crevices that even the micron spores of anthrax couldn't fit," he says. \nCleanup at AMI in Florida is a moot point for now; the building is still an active crime scene. Even if the US$4.6 million structure could be fogged, Kahane says a "significant number of employees don't want to go back." \nGospodarski and a team were planning to enter the ABC News offices at Central Park West to do some precautionary cleanup. They were armed with the old standard -- 10 percent bleach solution. \nDespite his confidence in the technology, Gospodarski says he can understand why people are afraid. \n"That's like saying, `OK, let's rebuild the World Trade Center towers,'" he says. "But does anybody want to have that office on the 102nd floor? I don't think many hands would go up."
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the