Case Study 3: Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are at the centre stage of a scientific and regulatory controversy.  Chemicals shown to have endocrine disrupting effects have mostly been man-made. They were originally engineered so as to produce benefits most importantly – but not exclusively – for industry and agriculture, households and consumers, as well as for medical and personal health care.

Case Study 2: Genetically Modified organisms (GMOs)

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the product of advanced biotechnology and are non-naturally occurring plants, animals and microorganisms whose genomes have been altered intentionally and artificially. The modification is typically achieved by inserting a gene from another, often unrelated, organism into the DNA of the host, with the intention of introducing a new trait. Despite their numerous applications, commonly GMOs are most frequently associated with crops and foods.

Case Study 4: Neonicotinoid insecticides

In Europe, hundreds of different pesticides are allowed in farming to control fungi (fungicides), weeds (herbicides) and plague insects (insecticides) that may harm the crop. Among them are Neonicotinoid insecticides (in short: neonics) that, due to the risk they pose for the environment and pollinating insects in particular, are regulated through the precautionary principle.

Case Study on Glyphosate

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.

Case Study on the use of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare

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.

Case Study on Microplastics in Food and Cosmetic Products

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.

Case Study on CRISPR-based gene drives

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.