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As the story of Frankenstein showed almost two centuries ago, the public will be frightened and uncooperative if they do not understand the nature of scientific experiments that take place in their communities. Thus, it is extremely important to the future success of the biotechnology industry that both government and industry be responsive to public concerns about biotechnological testing. First, we must do everything in our power to ensure that the release of new organisms into the environment poses no threat to human health or natural ecosystems. And, second, we must take pains to alleviate public concerns about the risks associated with biotechnology, whether those concerns are well-founded or not. The achievement of both these ends requires the involvement of a technically capable, publicly credible regulatory agency.
bioprocessing, biotechnology, public education, government regulation, Environmental Protection Agency, safety, public opinion, Frankenstein
Deputy administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC