Environmental Precaution


American Public Health Association Chemical Workplace Resolution»
American Public Health Association Children's Health Resolution»
California Environmental Justice Plan»
Hawaii House and Senate Precautionary Resolutions»
International Maastricht Treaty»
Marin County CA Precautionary Resolution»
Portland OR Toxics Reduction Strategy»
San Francisco CA Precautionary Principle Ordinance»
Seattle WA Environmental Plan»
United Nations Rio Declaration»

The American Public Health Association passed a Resolution in 1996 finding current U.S. workplace chemical exposure limits often fail to adequately protect the health of workers, and encouraging the development of a workplace chemical exposure prevention policy based on the precautionary principle.

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The American Public Health Association passed a Resolution in 2000 endorsing the precautionary principle as the foundation of preventive public health policy and practice, and focusing attention on protecting vulnerable populations such as developing fetuses and children who are especially susceptible to environmental contaminants.

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The California Environmental Protection Agency developed a statewide Environmental Justice Action Plan in 2004 with input from communities. The Plan explores concepts and develops tools to move ahead on applying precautionary approaches, cumulative impacts and improved public participation, and is aimed at establishing a framework for integrating environmental justice concepts into state regulatory functions.

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A Resolution passed the House of Representatives in 2004 that requested a Legislative review on the application of the San Francisco Precautionary Principle Ordinance to Hawaii policies.

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A Resolution passed the Senate in 2004 that urged state agencies to implement the Precautionary Principle approach to help reduce harm.

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This 1992 treaty established many operating rules for the European Union, and it explicitly mandated that community policy on the environment “shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventative action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.” (See Title XVI Environment, Article 130r, Sect. 2 on page 37.)

This 2004 Resolution of the Marin County Board of Supervisors required the incorporation of the precautionary principle in county operations, such as integrated pest management and green building initiatives, and a report on implementation, Measuring Progress Towards a Sustainable Marin.

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Multnomah County and the City of Portland Council in Oregon approved a Joint Resolution in 2004 to develop a Toxics Reduction Strategy based on the precautionary principle. The strategy supports the elimination of toxic pollutants in the region by using alternatives that present the least potential threat to human health and the city’s natural systems.

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Portland Report on Precaution

The Sustainable Development Commission of Portland and Multnomah County, and the Oregon Center for Environmental Health, issued a 2004 model report titled, Precautionary Approaches for Health & the Environment: Making the Case for a Toxics Reduction Strategy.

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In 2003, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted the precautionary principle as city and county policy. It states in part, “Where there are reasonable grounds for concern, the precautionary approach to decision-making is meant to help reduce harm by triggering a process to select the least potential threat.” Another central goal is the inclusion of citizens as equal partners in decisions affecting their environment.

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San Francisco White Paper on Precaution

In 2003, a “white paper” report was released in support of the proposed Ordinance, which provided a thorough explanation of the history, intent and implications of the precautionary principle.

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In 2005, the City of Seattle, WA added a section to its Comprehensive Environmental Plan in support of the precautionary principle, stating in part “where threats of serious or irreversible harm to people or nature exist, anticipatory action will be taken to prevent damages to human and environmental health…”

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The 1992 Rio Declaration from the United Nations Conference on Environment & Development states, “the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” (Principle 15, Page 4.)

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