Health & Safety

Sep 042013

Originally published by Friends of the Earth Synthetic Biology Vanillin: not natural, not sustainable, not likely to be labeled, and coming to an ice-cream cone near you. A new ingredient is about to enter the global food supply in many of our favorite foods from ice cream to birthday cake. And like many of the products of genetic engineering, it won’t be carrying a label– instead it is being marketed as “natural”. This ingredient, synthetic [More]

Sep 042013
Friends of the Earth Launches Campaign against Synbio Vanilla

Originally published on Friends of the Earth Friends of the Earth (FOE) has  launched a campaign to urge Haagen Dazs, Dryers, Baskin Robbins, and other major ice cream companies to commit to not use synbio vanilla in their ice cream. Dana Perls, Food and technology campaigner for FOE, says “In the face of inaction by the FDA, it’s up to consumers to voice our concerns and make it clear we do not want synbio vanilla [More]

Aug 132013
California Governor Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill that Would Have Legalized Sale of Human Eggs

Advocates for women’s health and opponents of the commercialization of human genes by corporate research interests won a small victory August 13, 201.  California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have allowed the sale of human eggs for research purposes. Brown acknowledged that the health risks of the egg extraction procedure would be compounded if women were paid to allow their eggs to be harvested. Brown said “Not everything in life is for [More]

Jun 212013
Podcast: Jim Thomas,  Becky McClain and Edward Hammon discuss synthetic biology on Before You Leap

BioBeware By the Center for Environmental Health Originally published by Before You Leap, the podcast of the Center for Environmental Health. We hear from Jim Thomas on the story of how the birth of modern synthetic chemistry began with the color purple and what this means for dealing with the risky new technology of synthetic biology. Also, Becky McClain, the first biological lab scientist to be injured on the job by a genetically engineered (GMO) [More]

Feb 282013
For Autodesk, a Step Into a Nanoscale World

The NY Times ran this article a few days ago, about the pending release of a desktop nano-biotech design program. The reporter mentions that “there are still many open questions that nanotechnology needs to surmount, ranging from viability to safety,” but lapses quickly into a swoon over the inventors’ hyping of the new technology, saying  that “they can recreate the thriving commercial ecosystems that the company has now evolved in engineering design at a Lilliputian scale.” [More]

Jan 162013

While this announcement in the Richmond Confidential suggests that Bay Area residents might want to consider wildlife and birds, noise pollution and new traffic as they weigh in on the proposed second campus of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, here at synbiowatch, we’re quite a bit more concerned about bio-hazardous material, leakage of artificial organisms, worker safety, and disaster prevention. The Notice of Preparation is online, and anyone who wants to suggest additions or changes can comment online, via [More]

Jan 162013

By Associated Press, cross-posted from Washington Post HAGERSTOWN, Md. — At least 11 workers at U.S. biological laboratories were infected with dangerous pathogens from 2004 to 2010, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday in a report on security measures stemming from the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks. None of the infected workers died. The Atlanta-based agency said the infection rate of 1.6 per 10,000 workers was far lower than the rate of general [More]

Jan 082013

By Erica Rex, E&E correspondent, cross-posted from E&E News Tuesday, January 8, 2013 – The warming waters of one of central Europe’s most popular holiday destinations, Switzerland’s Lake Zurich, have created an ideal environment for a population explosion of algae including Planktothrix rubescens, a toxic cyanobacterium. It has the potential to harm humans, animals and the tourism that pumps up the economies of lake districts. Although harmful algal blooms have been documented for more than [More]