SAN CARLOS, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Carlos City Council voted this week to ban future developments of bio labs that could pose significant health risks. Any labs that fall under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention category of level 3 or 4 cannot be built in the city.
This move comes after residents pushed the city council to pass the ordinance. Following the pandemic, the group of residents did research and wanted to prevent a possible disaster.
"If anything were to go wrong with that laboratory, it could be a really dangerous situation," said David Crabbe, one of the residents who pushed for the ordinance. "Here on the peninsula, which is subject to earthquakes, sea level rise, and in a high dense area not that is far from residential area."
The CDC categorizes bio labs into 4 categories.
Level 1 is considered a minor risk with no pathogens being studied.
Level 2 is a moderate risk where scientists study diseases such as influenza and salmonella.
Level 3 is severe where scientists study viruses such as HIV and COVID-19.
Level 4 labs pose an extreme risk - scientists study viruses such as Ebola and smallpox.
San Carlos City Council voted to ban levels 3 and 4.
Mayor Adam Rak says they learned BSL labs 3 and 4 only make up a small percentage of bio labs, and they are usually attached to universities and research institutes.
He says it is not common for those in the private sector. He says despite the ordinance, he still expects bio lab companies to build in San Carlos - they will just be levels 1 and 2.
"They are an important part of our economic growth," Mayor Rak said. "It is our plan for the future and the things we want to invest in our community, but we also have to balance the concerns and needs of our residents."
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