Biosafety Protocol: Is There A Need For One?
By John M. Seguin
Thesis statement: An international biosafety protocol should be created to establish and maintain control over the products designed with biotechnology.
I. The existing laws and regulations that govern the release of transgenic
organisms are inadequate or nonexistent.
A. The developed nations of the world are using regulations that were designed to control and monitor crops created with traditional technologies.
B. Biotechnology is regulated by three different agencies. C. The undeveloped nations have virtually no regulations governing transgenic organisms.
1. This indicates that biotechnological research can and is being conducted in these countries without regulation. 2. There are many biotech companies based in developed countries that have branches or joint ventures around the world.
II. The potential risks of transgenic organisms to the environment is still being determined.
A. Some experts warn that there is a danger that biotechnology can create mutant hybrids.
B. Biotechnology has the potential to harm the economies of some developing nations.
C. The last and possible the most important argument for an international biosafety protocol is in the name of ignorance and caution
III. The United States, Germany, Japan, and Australia are the only countries opposed to the biosafety protocol. IV. The need for a change in the world of agriculture is undeniable.
As the world moves closer to the 21st century, research and development in the area of biotechnology has increased dramatically. According to Bette Hileman of Chemical and Engineering News, the world population will increase by 3 billion people in the next thirty years while the amount of land available for agriculture cannot be greatly expanded. "Biotechnology - specifically that aspect involved in transferring genes from one species into the [DNA] of another - has the potential to alleviate . . ." (8) this and many other problems facing the world in the near future. Even though biotechnology has already shown dramatic results in the creation of beneficial transgenic (genetically engineered) species, many countries and researchers are ". . . quite leery about the uses of biotechnology" (8). Therefore, an international biosafety protocol should be created to establish and maintain control over the products designed with biotechnology.
The existing laws and regulations that govern the release of transgenic organisms are inadequate or nonexistent. In general, the developed nations of the world are using regulations that were designed to control and monitor crops created with traditional technologies like hybridization and cross-breeding (Hileman 8). Pamela Weintraub, of the National Audubon Society, states that many expected problems with biotechnology can be kept under control with proper regulations, but the regulations (where there are any) governing biotechnology today are "tangled and obscure" (164).
In the United States for example, biotechnology is regulated by three different agencies: the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These three agencies regulate product research and commercialization of transgenic organisms depending upon their nature and intended use. The USDA regulates transgenic plants grown on a large scale. If a product of transgenic origin is to be used as a food, then it falls under FDA regulations. The EPA has jurisdiction over all transgenic...
Cited: Wilson Company, 1995.
New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1995. 145-153.
Hileman, Bette. "Views differ sharply over benefits, risks of agricultural
biotechnology." Chemical and Engineering News 73 (1995): 8-17.
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