In June 2020, a diverse group of stakeholders met online to discuss the challenges of the precautionary principle and share their visions
On 4 and May 2020, the RECIPES e-Conference took place.
Glyphosate is one of the world’s most widely used herbicides, used in European agriculture to control weeds in a wide range of crops. The substance’s license was recently renewed, causing outrage and controversy due to its assumed connection to carcinogenic effects on humans and animals. Studies have both proven and disproven these carcinogenic effects, calling into question whether the substance should be discontinued until full safety is established.
Artificial Intelligence is often characterized as a transformational technology for the twenty-first century. Healthcare could be the domain in which AI will have the most impact, transforming practices in, amongst others, the fields of diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, allocating resources, organizing files, and automated operations. At the same time, the application and possible dependency on AI systems within this critical domain could also negatively impact patient safety, privacy, and fair decision making.
Microplastics are small pieces of plastics, usually defined as smaller than 5 millimeters. They enter the environment via two routes. Primary microplastics are intentionally added to products, as is done in cosmetic products, to increase certain product characteristics. Secondary microplastics, which constitute the biggest part of the environmental pollution, are pieces of plastic that break down from larger plastics as used for example in packaging materials.
Synthetic gene drives based on the CRISPR-cas9 genetic engineering method could be used to spread artificially modified genes through wild populations faster. The main promise of this technology is that it spreads itself: the gene drive is inherited by each next generation of offspring. This could make it possible to enhance, suppress or perhaps even eliminate a population. So far, CRISPR-cas9 based gene drives research has been limited to the lab, and has focused mainly on mosquito species that transmit malaria.
The precautionary principle is supposed to enable decision-makers to adopt precautionary measures even if scientific uncertainties about environmental and health risks remain. However, opinions about the precautionary principle are divided. To some, it is unscientific and an obstacle to progress. To others, it is a necessary tool to protect human health and the environment.
In June 2019, four citizens’ meetings were organised in Italy by K&I, under the RECIPES project.