FOEA Emerging tech Project
Another broken promise

Another broken promise

FSANZ fails to ensure the safety of foods containing nanomaterials

Emerging technologies and corporate control

Emerging technologies and corporate control

Read our special edition of FoEA's Chain Reaction magazine

194 countries call for the regulation of synthetic biology

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Featured | Comments Off

194 countries call for the regulation of synthetic biology

In a unanimous decision of 194 countries, the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has formally urged nation states to regulate synthetic biology (synbio). The landmark decision follows ten days of hard-fought negotiations between developing countries and a small group of wealthy biotech-friendly economies. Until now, synthetic organisms have been developed and commercialised without international regulations and increasing numbers of synbio products are making their way to market. The CBD’s decision is regarded as a...

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Throwing precaution to the wind: the government’s attempts to thwart the regulation of synthetic biology

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Featured | Comments Off

Throwing precaution to the wind: the government’s attempts to thwart the regulation of synthetic biology

Since it was first proposed that synthetic biology be looked at as a new and emerging issue under the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD), the Australian Government − under both the ALP and the Coalition − has consistently attempted to destroy any prospect of international regulations governing this new and potentially dangerous technology. Doubtless their behaviour at the current Convention meeting (COP12) in South Korea will be no exception. Synthetic biology (synbio) is an extreme version of genetic engineering. Instead of swapping...

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APVMA fails to address risks of nanomaterial use in agriculture

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Featured | Comments Off

APVMA fails to address risks of nanomaterial use in agriculture

As the Australian Pest and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) attempts to grapple with the issue of nanomaterials in agricultural chemicals, Friends of the Earth have warned that unregulated nanomaterials are already being used in agriculture in Australia – posing unacceptable risks. Late last week the APVMA released a discussion paper on regulatory options regarding the use of nanomaterials in agricultural chemicals. The paper identified some of the risks associated with the use of nanomaterials in agriculture, but maintains that...

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Australia must support a precautionary approach to synbio at COP12

Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Australia must support a precautionary approach to synbio at COP12

As global governments meet to discuss synthetic biology (synbio) at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting (COP12) in South Korea, Friends of the Earth is calling for a moratorium on the commercial release of synthetically modified organisms (SMOs) until a legally binding international framework for synbio is developed and implemented. Synbio is an extreme version of genetic engineering. Instead of swapping genes from one species to another (as in genetic engineering), synthetic biology creates entirely new forms of life – or...

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Conflict of interest concerns with European Commission’s expert risk assessors

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in Featured | Comments Off

Conflict of interest concerns with European Commission’s expert risk assessors

A new report by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) raises serious concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest in the European Commission’s Scientific Committees. Looking at four recent case studies – parabens, nano titanium dioxide, nano-silver and mercury – CEO discovered that 67 per cent of the scientists who drafted opinions had at least one conflict of interest. Some had as many as 20 – due to their direct and indirect links with affected industries. Conflicts included working in a consultative/advisory role for industry,...

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