WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has temporarily suspended work at its most secure biosafety lab that handles dangerous pathogens because air hoses that are part of the required full-body protective suits worn by lab workers were not certified for breathable air, officials said Friday.
About 100 employees have worked in the labs, at CDC’s Atlanta headquarters, since 2008 when the air hoses were introduced. There is no evidence that any of the employees were exposed to hazardous material from breathing air through the hoses, said Stephan Monroe, CDC’s associate director for laboratory science and safety. ‘‘There have been no reports of acute health effects during the entire time’’ the hoses have been in use in the labs, Monroe said.
The problem was discovered during a routine inventory check Monday, and work at the labs was immediately suspended out of an abundance of caution, he said. The three affected labs are part of CDC’s highest-security biosafety lab complex, known as BSL-4.