Toxic Chemicals


Boston MA Dioxin Resolution»
Buffalo NY PBT Resolution»
Copenhagen Chemicals Charter»
European Chemical REACH Proposal»
Louisville Charter for Safer Chemicals»
Maine Ban on Toxic Fire Retardants»
Maine Waste Burn Barrel Ban»
New Hampshire Dioxin Reduction Strategy»
Persistent Organic Pollutants International Treaty»
Seattle WA PBT Reduction Resolution»
State Chemicals Policy Database»


Bisphenol A»
Chemical Regulation»
Dioxin»
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PBDE (Brominated Flame Retardants)»
Persistent Toxic Chemicals»

This 2003 resolution, which passed unanimously, directs the city’s Purchasing Department to use less toxic alternatives where economically feasible (taking into account the full cost of dioxin-emitting products). It requires an Implementation Plan with reduction targets for dioxin pollution and a progress report.

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News Release This Health Care Without Harm October 2003 News Release describes the resolution.

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The Buffalo City Council unanimously approved a resolution in 2004 encouraging the elimination of persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals in products through city procurement practices, and stated that “persistent pollution prevention is a high priority for action to reduce risk to public and environmental health.”

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Associated Press Article

A December 2004 article published in Newsday, titled “Buffalo Moves to go PBT-Free,” describes the passage of the resolution.

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City Council Letter

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition’s October 2004 letter to Buffalo City Council members urges them to sponsor the resolution and succinctly describes the benefits of phasing out PBT products.

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This 2000 Charter presented five demands for a new European chemical policy at the “Chemicals Under the Spotlight” international conference held in Copenhagen. It outlines the key principles organizations wanted to see in the forthcoming European chemical policy, commonly known as the REACH proposal. It was signed by the European Environmental Bureau, the European Consumer’s Bureau, and three Danish organizations.

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REACH, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals, is a European Union proposal to establish an integrated approach to the production, import and use of chemicals in Europe. It aims to create a comprehensive new system requiring full information on the toxicity of chemicals and the use of safer alternatives for some “chemicals of very high concern.” It reverses the burden of proof so that industry, rather than government, will assume greater responsibility for managing the use of toxic chemicals.

Access the proposal and view updates on the authorization process here.

REACH in Five Minutes

This 2005 brochure by World Wildlife Fund briefly describes the proposal.

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Principles for Toxic-Free Environment

This brochure by the non-profit International Chemical Secretariat explains the key principles of REACH.

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Chemicals Beyond Control

This report by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other groups describes the need for amendments to strengthen and improve the REACH proposal.

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REACH: What Happened & Why?

This 2004 guide, titled The Only Planet Guide to the Secrets of Chemical Policy in the EU, is by Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament. It provides a detailed description of the proposal and Europe’s movement for safe chemical policy.

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REACH: Myths Exposed

This 2005 brochure by World Wildlife Fund briefly responds to misunderstandings and myths about REACH.

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Businesses Support REACH

Several businesses support REACH, including Marks & Spencer, H & M and Electrolux, along with organizations such as the European Trade Union Confederation. This 2005 publication describes why companies support stronger chemicals regulation.

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This 2005 Charter by a national coalition of groups presents six principles to reform U.S. chemical laws and regulatory system. The draft charter was crafted at a 2004 national meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, which has eleven industrial facilities releasing millions of pounds per year of toxic air emissions.

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For more information on the principles, including six Background Papers and activities of the Coming Clean Network of groups, go to http://www.louisvillecharter.org

In 2004, ME passed a law requiring safer alternatives to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), also called brominated flame retardants, which are used in computers, mattresses, and other products. The law bans the sale of products containing the PBDEs known as Penta and Octa by 2006 and requires a phase out the PBDE known as Deca by
2008 if safer alternatives are found to be nationally available. CA, HI and NY have passed similar laws.

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News Release

This 2004 News Release by Environmental Health Strategies Center describes the law and the hazards of PBDEs.

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Report on Alternatives to Deca PBDE

This 2005 report, Decabromodiphenylether: An Investigation of Non-Halogen Substitutes in Electronic Enclosure and Textile Applications, by Lowell Center for Sustainable Production examines safer alternatives.

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In 2001, Maine passed a law to reduce dioxin releases by banning open burning of municipal solid waste in burn barrels. It also established a state policy to reduce dioxin and mercury and spurred a state study on diverting PVC waste away from incineration.

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Original Legislation

This is the original bill before it was amended due to chemical industry opposition. For instance, the sections to set up a statewide dioxin-free procurement program and fund household hazardous waste and PVC collection programs were removed in the final law.

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State Bulletin on Dioxin Emissions

This 2001 state news bulletin describes the new law and states, “Dioxin pollution causes legislators to ban open burning of waste.”

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State Poster on Dioxin Emissions and Waste Burning

This 2001 state poster states, ”Burning trash to save a few dollars isn’t worth the price of your family’s health. It’s downright dangerous to breathe that smoke.”

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State Report on Household Hazardous Waste & PVC

In the 2001 Household Hazardous Waste report, the state identified PVC as a problem waste to be separately collected and diverted away from incineration to landfills (if not recycled).

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State Report on Toxic Reduction Plan

This State Planning Office Study Committee 2003 report found “substantial support for efforts that would result in the diversion of PVC plastic away from incineration.”

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Precautionary PVC Policy Paper

This 2003 position paper by the Environmental Health Strategy Center, titled “Dioxin Pollution Prevention & PVC Plastic In Municipal Waste Stream: Precautionary State Policy,” provides an overview of the problem and solutions.

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In 2001, the NH Department of Environmental Services targeted “dioxin as a significant public health threat requiring immediate attention,” and established a statewide strategy to reduce dioxin emissions by 50% over the next two years. The strategy includes setting up a comprehensive inventory of dioxin emissions and their sources, and over 50 recommendations to reduce emissions from over 20 sources, such as closing medical waste incinerators.

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News Release

This 2001 News Release issued by Governor Jeanne Shaheen describes the new strategy. Shaheen states, “With this Strategy, NH will be the first state in the nation to act comprehensively to reduce dioxin emissions. But pollution does not respect state borders. We hope that the federal government and states that are upwind of us will follow our example as soon as possible.”

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Executive Summary

This 2001 Executive Summary memo provides an overview of the strategy objectives and recommendations.

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In 2001 the United Nation’s Stockholm Convention targeted persistent organic pollutants (POPs) chemicals for elimination on an international level, starting with an initial list of 12 POPs, such as PCBs. The Treaty also targeted technologies and practices that yield unwanted byproduct POPs, such as incineration and prohibited the manufacture of new chemicals with POPs characteristics. The Treaty was legally binding as of 2004.

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POPs Treaty Guide

This 2002 guide by Greenpeace International, titled Stockholm Convention on POPs: A Guide & Analysis to Assist Countries with Implementation, provides a thorough description of the treaty.

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POPs Health Threats

This World Health Organization report, titled Health Risks of Persistent Organic Pollutants from Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, describes the health hazards of 13 POPs.

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This 2002 City Resolution makes reduction of persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals a high priority and requires the city to reduce the purchase and use of products with PBT chemicals.

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PBT Reduction Progress Report

This 2003 Progress Report by the City of Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment describes how the city has evaluated products to reduce PBT use and purchasing.

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Environmental Groups’ News Release

This 2002 News Release by Washington Toxics Coalition and People for Puget Sound describes the Resolution and notes that it is the first of its kind in the nation to address the purchase and use of products containing persistent chemicals by a city.

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State Chemical plicy Database includes over 700 state and local legislative and executive branch toxic chemical policies from 50 states from 1990 to the present. Click here to view website.

Connecticut pass a state ban on bisphenol A (BPA) in any reusable food or beverage container or any infant formula or baby food container. Minnesota, Canada, Suffolk County NY and Chicago previously passed bans.

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Clean Water Action News Release

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Washington passed the first comprehensive ban on lead in wheel weights, one of the largest uses of lead, in 2009.

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For more information, visit Ecology Center’s Lead Free Wheels campaign website.


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