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Biosafety is the prevention of large-scale loss of biological integrity, focusing both on ecology and human health. These prevention mechanisms include conduction of regular reviews of the biosafety in laboratory settings, as well as strict guidelines to follow. Biosafety is used to protect us from harmful incidents. High security facilities are necessary when working with Synthetic Biology as there are possibilities of bioterrorism acts or release of harmful chemicals and or organisms into the environment. A complete understanding of experimental risks associated with synthetic biology is helping to enforce the knowledge and effectiveness of biosafety.
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Scope and Importance
The scope of the Biosafety Protocol is the transboundary movement, transit, handling and use of LMOs produced through modern biotechnology (which includes genetic engineering). The Protocol attempts to address any potential effects of LMOs (Living Modified Organisms) on conservation an sustainable use of biological diversity. Therefore, the Protocol sets forth rules and parameters for managing any risks of LMOs that might impact biodiversity and/or the environment through application of risk assessment and risk management tools (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2000). The Biosafety Protocol is not self-implementing so countries need to establish a national biosafety regulatory system. One definition of such a system is “a regulatory regime responsible for assessing and managing the full range of potential risks that could be posed by GMOs. A biosafety regulatory system addresses potential risks to the environment and biological diversity as well as any food/feed risks or other safety related issues involving GMOs and their products (e.g., worker health, drug safety, etc.).” Thus, the regulatory system is supposed to manage risks but allow safe products to be developed and marketed. It can be established by using existing laws, such as plant protection laws, food safety laws, and pesticide laws, or a country can enact a new law, such as a biosafety law that addresses only GMOs.
Infectious diseases, particularly those acquired in the hospital (nosocomial infections), were among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. in 2008, as they have been for the past several decades. Bacteria, parasites, and viruses are among the organisms that cause infectious diseases, many of which have only recently been identified. In 2008, U.S. sales of infection control and biosafety products totaled approximately $9.6 billion, with injection devices and related products accounting for an estimated 36% of sales, wound closure devices accounting for 26% of sales, sterilization products accounting for 14% of sales, healthcare-related skin cleansers accounting for 13% of sales, and medical waste disposal supplies accounting for the remaining 11% of sales. Over the forecast period covered by this report, sales of infection control and biosafety products are expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 5.9%, reaching approximately $12.9 billion in the year 2013.
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