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Precautionary Presentations

You can view compelling and informative presentations and speeches by national and international leaders from the First National Conference on the Precautionary Principle.  This 2006 BE SAFE event brought together over 300 activists and organizations in the first national conversation across issue movements.

Use the drop down links at the bottom to access presentations by subject.

National and International Precautionary Policies»

State Precautionary Policies and Campaigns»

Local Precautionary Policies»

Industry Precautionary Policies»

Building a Movement for Precaution»

Applying Precaution»

Ethics of Precaution»

Precaution and Health»

Precaution & Economics»

Singing About Precaution»

National and International Precautionary Policies

Europe‘s Precautionary Movement & Chemical REACH Policy
Per Rosander, Director of International Chemicals Secretariat describes important milestones of precautionary legislation in Sweden and Europe, the fundamentals of precautionary laws including the substitution principle, and the REACH precautionary chemical legislation.
View PowerPoint presentation.

Precaution in ‘Old Europe’ and New America
Ken Geiser, Co-Director of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell explains why the Precautionary Principle has been so well accepted in the European Union and so fiercely opposed in the United States.
View speech.

Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Policies
Dr. Gabino Aguirre, Santa Paula City Councilmember, and a member of Mayors for Peace, describes the history of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation policies, and the campaign for states to commit to a zone wholly free of military weapons and nuclear waste. 
View PowerPoint presentation.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation International Treaty
Carah Ong of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation outlines how the Treaty is a 36-year old precautionary policy to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons, and describes Congressional efforts to strengthen the policy.
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Zero Waste Initiatives
Monica Wilson of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives outlines the key problems with incineration and waste gasification, and describes the implementation of Zero Waste Resolutions in the U.S. and around the world.
View PowerPoint presentation.

Europe‘s Mercury Phase Out
Michael Bender of Mercury Policy Project outlines the global problem of mercury pollution, Europe’s strategy for mercury reduction and Sweden’s pioneering dental amalgam law.
View PowerPoint presentation.

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
Doreen Stabinsky of Greenpeace International describes the global rules for international trade in genetically modified organisms (GMOs) based on an explicitly broad definition of precaution.
View PowerPoint presentation.

Participation Rights Fundamental to Precaution
Mr. Lalanath de Silva of World Resources Institute outlines a campaign to implement international commitments on the “participation principle” with agreements in Mexico, Uganda and elsewhere, and how to promote participation in America’s environmental decisionmaking.
View PowerPoint presentation.

Endangered Species Act
Nicole Rosmarino of Forest Guardians outlines the precautionary portions of the federal Endangered Species Act, including burden of proof on those proposing harmful projects and adaptive management.
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Preventing Toxic Accidents
Rick Hind of Greenpeace Toxics Campaign describes how inherently safer technologies can eliminate catastrophic risks and deadly accidents from chemical facilities, and outlines needed regulatory and legislative action.
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Precautionary Disaster Response Post 9/11 & Katrina
Suzanne Mattei of Sierra Club outlines the problems of the 9/11 and Katrina disaster response, and the Congressional and federal agency reforms needed to establish a precautionary program.
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Preventing Cancer Labor & Community Initiative
Bill Chedore of Canadian Labour Congress describes how labor-community campaigns are addressing carcinogens in the environment and the national cancer prevention network.
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Canada‘s Corporate Crime Punishment Law
Charlie Cray of Center for Corporate Policy outlines why strong criminal penalties are an important component in implementing precaution, and describes Canada’s law establishing criminal sanctions for occupational manslaughter.
View PowerPoint presentation.
View handout.

State Precautionary Policies and Campaigns

Washington Persistent Chemicals Phase out Policy
Pam Tazioli of Breast Cancer Fund describes the development and implementation of the state persistent, bioaccumulative toxic chemicals (PBT) policy which first focused on phasing out flame retardants.
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Phasing Out Persistent Toxic Chemicals in Maine
Mike Belliveau of Environmental Health Strategies Center outlines the precautionary elements of their campaign on mercury, arsenic wood, brominated flame retardants and lead, and the strategy to establish safer chemicals policies.
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Massachusetts Safer Alternatives Policy
Leise Jones of Clean Water Action and the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow describes their campaign for a state substitution program to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives.
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Precautionary Pesticide Policy in Alaska
Pamela Miller of Alaska Community Action on Toxics describes a successful campaign to pass a local and statewide child-protective law on pesticides.
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Drinking Water Protection in North Carolina
Hope Taylor-Guevara of Clean Water for North Carolina describes an initiative to prevent the contamination of groundwater, especially in rural areas that rely on drinking water wells.
View power point presentation.

Local Precautionary Policies

Precautionary Principle Law in San Francisco Bay Area
Joan Reinhardt Reiss of the Bay Area Working Group outlines the history, tactics and strategies of their successful campaign to pass the Precautionary Principle law.
View power point presentation.

Portland and Multnomah County Toxic Reduction Strategy
Molly Chidsey of Multnomah County explains how the plan to minimize use of toxic substances in government operations was created and the 40 proposed actions to implement it. Neha Patel of Oregon Center for Environmental Health describes their campaign to seek approval of the policy.
View Molly Chidsey’s power point presentation.
View Neha Patel’s power point presentation.

LA School Precautionary Pesticide Policy
Robina Suwol of California Safe Schools provides an overview of the policy and its creation, best practices and lessons learned.
View speech.

San Francisco Extended Producer Responsibility Resolution
Bill Sheehan of Product Policy Institute explains how extended producer responsibility (EPR) implements the precautionary principle by reversing the burden of responsibility and encouraging safer alternatives, and outlines how local governments are taking action.
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Mendocino County Precautionary Principle Policy
Linda Helland of Mendocino County describes a policy to apply precautionary decision-making to country processes and products, including toxic substances, planning and building which was approved in June 2006.
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New York City Watershed Protection Agreement
Chris Wilde of Riverkeeper describes a policy to protect the drainage basin natural environment for New York City’s water source in the Catskill Mountains.
View power point presentation.

Charles River Restoration Program
David Kaplan of Charles River Watershed Association describes restoration activities for Charles River aquifer near Boston
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Industry Precautionary Policies

Consorta Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program
Jean Livingston of Consorta, Inc. outlines the company’s draft chemical policy and the health care group purchasing company’s precautionary practices.
View power point presentation.

Safe Cosmetics: Precautionary Industry Agreements
Lisa Archer of Friends of the Earth describes their campaign calling on body care products industry to phase out use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health harms which 350 companies have endorsed.
View power point presentation.

Health Care Industry Precautionary Programs
Barbara Sattler of Health Care Without Harm describes the goals and activities of the international campaign to transform the health care industry, highlighting sustainable practices on plastics, mercury, waste reduction and the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment initiative.
View power point presentation.

Industry PVC Phase Out Initiatives
Mike Schade of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice describes the PVC poison plastic campaign, and precautionary actions to phase out PVC by automobile manufacturers, shoemakers, retailers and the electronic industry.
View power point presentation.

Warning Consumers About Mercury in Fish
Jackie Savitz of Oceana describes Wild Oats and Safeway’s point of sale advisories and a green list guide to grocery stores that provide consumers with mercury warnings.
View power point presentation.

Building a Movement for Precaution

Precautionary Action
Lois Gibbs of Center for Health, Environment & Justice describes the “kaleidoscope” precautionary movement and how we can achieve the goal of precaution and prevention.
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A Vision of the Future
Carolyn Raffensperger of Science and Environmental Health Network outlines some visions of a precautionary society.
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Building a Movement
Peter Montague of Environmental Research Foundation describes the systemic problem of our current “structure of harm,” and outlines how we need to work together to seek fundamental change, find allies and develop a common vision.
View power point presentation.

Applying Precaution

Alternatives Assessment
Joel Tickner of Lowell Center for Sustainable Production describes alternatives assessments and outlines the precautionary decisionmaking framework.
View power point presentation.

Emerging Technologies & the Precautionary Principle
Ted Schettler of Science and Environmental Health Network outlines general principles and questions to apply when assessing emerging technologies.
View power point presentation.

Nanotechnology & Biology
Jen Sass of Natural Resources Defense Council describes how nanotechnology can be toxic and lists recommendations for precautionary action.
View power point presentation.

Doreen Stabinsky of Greenpeace International outlines the characteristics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that make a strong precautionary approach appropriate.
View power point presentation.

Ethics of Precaution

Ethics & Values of Precaution
Ted Schettler of Science and Environmental Health Network and Steven Gilbert of Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders describe leaders who laid the foundation of precautionary ethics and values.
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Shared Ethics & Values of Environmental Justice & Conservation
Frank Peterman of Wilderness Society describes the shared goals of environmental justice and biodiversity and the importance of collaborative precautionary work among these groups.
View speech.

Precaution and Health

Strategic Value of Health Studies
Dr. Richard Clapp and Madeleine Kangsen Scammell of Boston University School of Public Health describes the strategic value of health studies and outlines a precautionary health study checklist.
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Critical Analysis of Risk Assessment & Alternative Approaches
Peter Montague of Environmental Research Foundation describes the seven scientific critiques of quantitative risk assessment, and outlines alternative, including the precautionary approach and zero waste.
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Applying a Precautionary Approach
Steven Gilbert of Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders describes risk assessment and its weaknesses using mercury and lead as case studies, and outlines a “precautionary assessment” to evaluate the scientific, safety, community, ethical and social issues related to a compound or procedure.
View power point presentation.

Precaution & Economics

An Economic Framework for Precaution
Frank Ackerman of Tufts University outlines three rigid assumptions of free-market theory and four areas of environmental economics: market prices, life-cycle costs and easily monetized externalities, “priceless” externalities, and uncertainty, complexity and synergy—the realm of precaution where it is important to act.
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Precautionary Economic Analysis
Nancy Myers of Science and Environmental Health Network outlines the benefits of precautionary economic analysis and describes a case study, “Easy Money, Hidden Costs: Precautionary Economic Analysis of Coalbed Methane Development in Power River Basin.”
View speech.
View power point presentation.

Costs of Toxic Exposure
Kate Davies of Antioch University Seattle outlines three types of studies on the costs of exposure to toxic chemicals, air pollution and multiple disease outcomes.
View power point presentation.

Singing About Precaution

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Lou Zeller of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League added new lyrics on taking precautionary action to the traditional Freedom Riders Song.
View lyrics.