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Botox: A Threat to Our National Security


Feb 9 2010
How our cultural fear of aging and dying is giving some terrorists a financial boost.

One of my favorite Bible passages is from Psalm 34. Verses 4 and 5 read: "I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed" (ESV).

I have seen that kind of radiant beauty on those whose hearts are contented in God, who are eager to proclaim all of his blessings and mercies upon their lives. I firmly believe that is the most attractive beauty there is, because it edifies and builds up others. Yet I also know the strong pull of the cosmetic and cosmeceutical industries and the promises they make to stall or turn back the ravages of time. So I write this post with a bit of ambivalence, knowing the money I spend at various salons.

That said, I have never been Botoxed. My dermatologist did inform me a few years ago that it was time to start, because it would keep my fine lines from becoming deep wrinkles. I frowned (deepening those lines) and shook my head. There was no way I was going to stick a neurotoxin in my face, I announced. I was sure that in 20 years, we'd discover why that was a bad idea. She looked at me placidly and said, "I hope not, because I have a face full of it." Maybe she was looking at me in wide-eyed horror, but I couldn't tell.

Likely it won't take 20 years. We are now discovering a new problem associated with the Botox craze: an increased risk of terrorism. The Washington Post recently ran an article about how officials fear that the toxic ingredient in Botox could become a terrorist tool:

In early 2006, a mysterious cosmetics trader named Rakhman began showing up at salons in St. Petersburg, Russia, hawking a popular anti-aging drug at suspiciously low prices. He flashed a briefcase filled with vials and promised he could deliver more—"as many as you want," he told buyers—from a supplier somewhere in Chechnya.
Rakhman's "Botox" was found to be a potent clone of the real thing, but investigators soon turned to a far bigger worry: the prospect of an illegal factory in Chechnya churning out raw botulinum toxin, the key ingredient in the beauty drug and one of world's deadliest poisons. A speck of toxin smaller than a grain of sand can kill a 150-pound adult.
No Chechen factory has been found, but a search for the maker of the highly lethal toxin in Rakhman's vials continues across a widening swath of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. U.S. officials and security experts say they know the lab exists, and probably dozens of other such labs, judging from the surging black market for the drug.
Related Topics:Aging; Beauty; Terrorism
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