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.
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.
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.
In June 2020, a diverse group of stakeholders met online to discuss the challenges of the precautionary principle and share their visions
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.
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.
On May 28, 2019, a citizen meeting was held in Bergen (Norway), where 26 people of different ages and professions met to discuss precaution and innovation in relation to (new) technologies.
The half-day citizen meeting in Sofia brought together 27 participants representing different social groups, professions, cities, and age.