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Precise Precaution Versus Sloppy Science
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society vol. 19 no. 2 (Apr. 1999)
The Convention on Biological Diversity opens the possibility to negotiate a legally binding Biosafety Protocol to assess and minimize risks in the field of transboundary transfer, handling, and use of organisms modified by genetic engineering. Two principles— the Precautionary Principle and the Principle of Familiarity—guiding the risk assessment as basis of import decisions on such organisms are discussed. Developing and European industrialized countries favor the Precautionary Principle. The U.S., Australia, Japan, and some others call for the Principle of Familiarity. These two principles exhibit opposite effects on scientific progress in general and on scientific methodology of risk assessment in particular.With the example of risk assessment by the U.S. company Monsanto discussed below, it could be illustrated that the Principle of Familiarity opens the way for superficial evaluations based on citing arbitrary references while the Precautionary Principle is an incentive for developing and applying sound methodology in experimental risk assessment.
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