Keywords: biological hazards, biological safety management, biotechnology, contained use, risk assessment, regional safety management, hazard identification, accidental release
When and how industrial biotechnologies become a factor of concern in regional safety management
Biotechnology has a long tradition of safety in use. Since the advent of gene technology, risk controversies have dominated its development. In this paper, the risk potential of contained applications is discussed. The analysis of typical features of bioprocesses shows that the organisms involved may be relevant as the cause of hazards. Because biological hazard identification is central to the risk assessment, the corresponding approach is outlined and the circumstances in which biological hazards become a matter of concern are discussed. Safety management is based on an increasing tightness of the containment with respect to an accidental release of organisms. It is essential to note that the overwhelming number of biotechnology applications involve organisms with no hazard potential. A case study of an accidental release of a hazardous organism is used to illustrate the nature and extent of the damage potential.