June 9, 2010
Botox, the cosmetic treatment used to smooth out wrinkles, is in fact a very diluted form of one of the most potent toxins on earth. A June 8 article in Fortune magazine, republished on CNN Money.com, discusses the potential security threat posed by unregulated manufacturing of knockoff botox, and cites a recent Scientific American article by Ken Coleman and Raymond Zilinskas of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).
In their article “Fake Botox, Real Threat,” Coleman and Zilinskas point out the potential security threat of so-called basement biologists selling their excess product to terrorists, and calls for cooperation between manufacturers and regulatory authorities. The Fortune story focuses on the ethical role of Allergan, the company that manufactures the blockbuster cosmetic treatment. "I don't think it's reasonable to expect [Allergan] to be in the law enforcement business," said Ken Coleman. "What it owes back to society is to put some kind of ongoing surveillance effort together that monitors the ongoing threat."
Coleman is a senior fellow at CNS, while Zilinskas is director of the Center’s Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program. Their study was also cited in a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.