In early 2018, The Department of Homeland Security is planning to conduct chemical and biological tests near the border between Kansas and Oklahoma.
Homeland Security officials plan to execute a “low-level outdoor release” of inert chemical and biological simulant materials during at two buildings within the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School (Chilocco campus) in Newkirk, Kay County, OK. The tests will take place January/February 2018 and then again during June/July 2018.
According to DHS, the biological weapons simulation is designed to see how protected people would be when staying inside if biological agents are used in a terror attack.
For the particle test, the government plans to release titanium dioxide, which it describes as a “white, odorless powder that is chemically insoluble in water, nonreactive, nonflammable and nonhazardous.”
Despite the government’s claims that the chemical is harmless, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Titanium dioxide dust, when inhaled, can be carcinogenic to humans.
For the biological portion of the test, the government plans to release genetic barcoded spores of an insecticide sold under the trade name of Dipel. Dipel is not considered hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency when handled appropriately, according to the assessment.
Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Estes of Kansas said Thursday he is “monitoring the situation closely.”
“I have numerous questions regarding this proposed test,” Estes said. “While it’s important for our federal agencies to test their abilities in response to threats, we need to be 100 percent certain this test is safe for the residents of south-central Kansas.”
The city of Arkansas City has also said it’s reviewing media reports of the testing.
“This is the first time the city has been made aware of any testing to occur at Chilocco,” the city posted on its Facebook page Thursday. “Inert means chemically inactive, which means by definition there should be no risk to the citizens. However, we are looking into the situation to gather more information for our citizens and their safety.”
Local Residents have started a petition on Change.org asking for 1,500 signatures. At the time of this article, the petition had gained over 4,900 signatures.