Every day, science is developing better ways to evaluate our physical abilities and even to predict the future course of our health. The Human Genome Project, which has scientists all over the world working on pieces of the human genetic puzzle, is the most spectacular and well publicized of these developments. On a more practical level, scientists have also developed a wide variety of tests for determining whether an individual has the ability to perform a certain type of physical labor safely. Many of these developments hold great promise for creating a healthier and more comfortable society.
But great controversy surrounds this research as well. According to one study by the National Center for Genome Resources, almost two-thirds of the individuals surveyed would not avail themselves of genetic testing that could tell them whether they are at risk of developing cancer or other diseases if their employers could also obtain the test results. These fears have been reflected in the legislative arena. Several states, including New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, among others, have passed laws limiting or prohibiting genetic testing by employers.
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