Residents in Oklahoma are terrified after the Homeland Security Department announced plans to conduct a “biological weapons” simulation in their community next year.
According to local news reports, the small town of Newkirk, Okla., a town of less than 3,000 people located seven miles south of the border with Kansas and just northwest of the Osage Indian Reservation—Tulsa is about 50 miles southwest—will undergo a simulated biological weapons attack using “non-hazardous, non-toxic” chemicals and biological materials on buildings in the area to see how well they can protect people inside. The chemicals and biological agents to be used are described as:
- titanium dioxide—a naturally occurring mineral, white in color and odorless, often used as a pigment, or as the primary ingredient in sunscreen, but which more recently has been discovered to have potentially cancer-causing side effects; and
- Dipel—a biological insecticide that is effective against butterflies and moths, killing them at the caterpillar stage of development (for this test, the individual spores are barcoded to identify each one).
The test is meant to help the department assess the impact of biological weapons.
Disturbingly, the community didn’t learn about the proposed test, which is slated to happen early next year, until the department published an advertisement in the local newspaper. As Newkirk resident Dennis Jordan told KOKI-TV:
"I just got sick to my stomach. I think if they want to test that stuff, let them go to Los Alamos, you know? I think it's stupid."
Other communities in the area say they are monitoring the situation closely. Members of Congress, including Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.), are also asking questions about the safety of such a test.