RealNews

Ideal Sensors for Terror Attack Don't Exist Yet

If something poisonous wafts onto a battlefield in Iraq, American soldiers would want enough warning to put on their gas masks. If terrorists release nerve gas in a subway station, officials would want quick identification of the toxin. If someone arrives at a hospital with suspicious symptoms, doctors would want a fast test to determine whether the sickness is anthrax or just the flu. After the World Trade Center and anthrax attacks in 2001, the federal government has doubled financing for counterterrorism research, including improved detectors, in each of the last two years. The research has generated promising advances, but “the perfect system doesn’t exist,” said Dr. Duane L. Lindner, deputy director for chem/bio programs at the Sandia National Laboratories site in Livermore, Calif. Accurate systems are slow, bulky and expensive. The simple quick tests are prone to “false positives,” finding danger where none exists. Full Story

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