CDC inaugurates two laboratories on Chamblee campus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Julie Gerberding, members of Congress and other officials will celebrate the opening of the CDC's two new state-of-the-art research facilities at its Chamblee campus Friday, July 19, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. These facilities are an important improvement to permit the agency to meet the challenges of actively protecting the nation's health and safety in the 21st century.
The Environmental Health Laboratory houses 100 employees who develop and apply advanced methods for measuring toxicants (chemicals known or suspected to be toxic) in blood, urine, saliva and body fluids or tissues. These methods allow scientists to determine which toxicants people are exposed to and how much has gotten into their bodies. For example, CDC scientists measured the level of exposure to lead in the United States which resulted in dramatic reductions in lead exposure and lead poisoning in young children. Making such measurements is known as biomonitoring. This laboratory has developed biomonitoring methods to measure more than 250 toxicants, from metals such as lead or mercury to pesticides.
The Parasitic Diseases Laboratory houses approximately 40 employees who provide state-of-the-art diagnostic services to support investigation of parasitic disease outbreaks and research on these diseases. Highly skilled scientists use the latest technologies to identify disease-causing parasites sent from all over the world. Some of the parasites studied include Cryptosporidium, a parasite found in tap water; Cyclospora, a parasite linked to the consumption of contaminated produce; and Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite that causes malaria.
"CDC is very grateful for the support that has made it possible to provide facilities to meet the nation's public health demands," says CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. "We are finally beginning to realize our dream of providing first-rate facilities for our first-rate staff. We still have a long way to go but these new buildings represent an exciting step in the right direction."
CDC is in its second year of its 10-year construction plan. The plan addresses overcrowding and antiquated facilities and will save taxpayer dollars by consolidating staff on two campuses and reducing the need to rent office space. The two campuses are at 1600 Clifton Road in Atlanta and 4770 Buford Highway in Chamblee. All projects should be underway by 2009, but many will be completed before then. The entire plan is scheduled for completion by 2012.
The cost to design, construct, equip and maintain the building and renovation project is estimated at approximately $1 billion over the 10-year period.
"CDC is charged with protecting the nation's health from infectious diseases such as anthrax, chronic diseases such as heart disease and environmental toxicants, to name a few," says Dr. Gerberding. "To meet this challenge, we must have adequate space and equipment to do that. We thank the Atlanta community for its unwavering support in helping us to achieve this goal."
Note to editors: Media are invited to tour the two buildings at 8:30 a.m. Please arrive by 8:15 to allow enough time to get through security. Address: 4770 Buford Highway.
CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.