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#60 -- Washington State Adopts Precaution, 18-Oct-2006

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter #60

"Foresight and Precaution, in the News and in the World"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006..........Printer-friendly version
www.rachel.org -- To make a secure donation, click here.
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Table of Contents...

Washington State Public Health Association Adopts Precaution
The Washington State Public Health Association endorsed the
precautionary principle October 16 "as a vital component of our
preventive approach to public health in Washington State, advancing
the goal that all people have an opportunity to reach and maintain
their full potential."
Washington Public Health Association Endorses Chemical Phaseouts
The Washington State Public Health Association on October 16
adopted a resolution endorsing the phaseout of persistent
bioaccumulative toxic chemicals.
Mendocino County Moves Forward with Precaution Policy
Mendocino County, California, will apply precaution to stormwater
runoff.
Industry Girds for Sprawling E.u. Regulatory Scheme
The chemical industry continues to oppose REACH, Europe's proposed
new precautionary chemicals policy -- but the handwriting is on the
wall. REACH is coming, in one form or another.

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From: Washington State Public Health Association, Oct. 16, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]

WASHINGTON STATE PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION ADOPTS PRECAUTION

Title: Endorsing the Precautionary Principle as a Public Health Tool
for Preventing Harm from Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals
(PBTs)

Whereas: Every resident of Washington State has an equal right to
conditions that protect and promote human health, including a healthy
and safe environment, with all children of Washington State having an
equal right to conditions that ensure they can reach and maintain
their full potential, and

Whereas: Washington State recognizes that "health is a state of
complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence
of disease or infirmity" and a fundamental human right[1]; and

Whereas: Many conditions, including asthma, cancer, Alzheimer's
disease, Parkinson's disease, birth defects, behavioral disorders,
Autism, and chemical sensitivities, have been linked to environmental
toxicants which incur enormous individual and societal costs in
Washington State[2] and nationally[3]; and

Whereas: This growing knowledge confers an ethical responsibility and
duty to make decisions that promote and maintain human and
environmental health, thereby preventing disease, illness or
disability[4,5]; and

Whereas: A principle for guiding activities to promote a healthy and
safe environment and encourage human health is known as the
Precautionary Principle, which consists of four basic elements: 1)
taking preventive action in the face of uncertainty, 2) shifting the
burden of responsibility of safety to the proponents of an activity;
3) exploring and implementing safer alternatives to possibly harmful
actions, and 4) increasing public participation in decision making;
and

Whereas: While scientific studies have determined that even low-level
exposures to PBTs may cause serious and permanent health and
neurodevelopmental harm, it is difficult to directly attribute a
particular exposure to a particular illness or injury, emphasizing the
need to take action to prevent harm[6]; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle holds that when an activity
threatens harm to human health or to the environment, precautionary
measures should be taken, even if cause-and- effect relationships are
not fully established scientifically[7,8]; and

Whereas: Taking precautionary action is the common sense idea behind
many adages, such as "be careful", "better safe than sorry" and "look
before you leap" and is inherent in the understanding of the
Hippocratic oath of "first, do no harm", in essence, the principle
goes hand in hand with prevention, the cornerstone of public health;
and

Whereas: Precautionary action is the basis of many activities designed
to protect the health and safety of United States citizens, such as
requirements of the federal Food and Drug Administration to ensure
that new drugs are efficacious and safe before being placed on the
market, requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act
of 1970 that require employers to provide safe workplaces and working
conditions, and the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 that
acknowledges additional protection for children; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle has been incorporated in
international environmental treaties and in health, environment and
educational policies of numerous governmental entities in the United
States, including the city of San Francisco, and that Seattle includes
a statement on the precautionary principle in the City's Comprehensive
Plan[9, 13]; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle is a highly effective decision-
making tool for reducing negative and costly effects on human health
resulting from exposure to environmental toxicants[10]; and

Whereas: The Washington State Department of Ecology has developed a
comprehensive strategy, based on preventing harm to human and
environmental health, to reduce and eventually eliminate persistent
bioaccumulative toxic chemicals (PBTs), further developing an
accompanying PBT Rule which incorporates tenets of prevention [11,12]
and

Whereas: The Washington State Departments of Ecology and Health have
developed chemical action plans recommending phase out of mercury[13]
and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)[14] in order to protect
human and environmental health; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle's preventive foundation promotes
environmental and economic justice to protect the environment and to
safeguard the health of all people of Washington State; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle has been endorsed by the American
Public Health Association, with the APHA stating it "Reaffirms its
explicit endorsement of the precautionary principle as a cornerstone
of preventive public health policy and practice[15,16,17] and by
hundreds of other organizations nationally and internationally,
including the American Nurses Association[18]

Therefore, Be It

Resolved, that: The Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA)
endorses the Precautionary Principle as a policy-making, educational
and advocacy tool for preventing harm to health, behavior and
neurodevelopment from exposures to PBTs in Washington State; and be it
further

Resolved, that: The WSPHA endorses the precautionary principle as a
vital component of our preventive approach to public health in
Washington State, advancing the goal that all people have an
opportunity to reach and maintain their full potential.

References

[1] WHO Alma-Ata Declaration (1978).

[2] Davies, K. Economic Costs of Diseases and Disabilities
Attributable to Environmental Contaminants in Washington State.
Davies, K. "How Much Do Environmental Disabilities and Diseases
Cost?"; Northwest Public Health; Fall/Winter 2005.

[3] Landrigan, P. J., Schechter, C. B., Lipton, J. M., Fahs, M. C.,
and Schwartz, J. (2002). Environmental pollutants and disease in
American children: estimates of morbidity, mortality, and costs for
lead poisoning, asthma, cancer, and developmental disabilities.
Environ Health Perspect 110, 721-8.

[4] Gilbert, S. (2005). Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues: Our
Children's Future. Neurotoxicology 27.

[5] Rosenblatt, R. A. (2005). Ecological change and the future of the
human species: can physicians make a difference? Ann Fam Med 3, 173-6.

[6]. Szpir, Michael. Tracing the Origins of Autism: A Spectrum of New
Studies; Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 114, Number 7, July
2006
.

[7] Tickner, J. A. (2002). Precautionary principle encourages policies
that protect human health and the environment in the face of uncertain
risks. Public Health Rep 117, 493-7.

[8] Gilbert, S.G. (2005). Public Health and The Precautionary
Principle. Northwest Public Health, Spring/Summer 2005, 4.

[9] Environment Element, City of Seattle's Comprehensive Plan,
Department of Planning & Development (2005).

[10] Ashford, N. A. (2004). Implementing the Precautionary Principle:
incorporating science, technology, fairness, and accountability in
environmental, health, and safety decisions. Int J Occup Med Environ
Health 17, 59-67.

[11] Washington State Department of Ecology; Proposed Strategy to
Continually Reduce Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs) in
Washington State, Ecology publication #00-03-054;

[12] Washington State Department of Ecology, PBT Rule Chapter 173-333
WAC
;

[13] Washington State Department of Ecology and Department of Health;
Washington's Mercury Chemical Action Plan;

[14] Washington State Department of Ecology and Department of Health;
PBDE Chemical Action Plan

[15] Raffensperger, C., Tickner, J., ed. (1999). Protecting Public
Health & the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle.
Island Press, Washington, D.C.

[16] APHA Policy Statement #9606: The Precautionary Principle and
Chemical Exposure Standards for the Workplace. APHA Policy Statements;
1948-present, cumulative. Washington, DC: American Public Health
Association.

[17] APHA Policy Statement #200011: The Precautionary Principle and
Children's health. APHA Policy Statements; 1948-present, cumulative.
Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

[18] List of endorsing organizations as well as additional information
on the Precautionary Principle is in the Seattle Precautionary
Principle White Paper: A Policy Framework for Adopting the
Precautionary Principle. The white paper and more updated date
information is available here.

Individuals and Organizations Endorsing the Resolution, "Endorsing the
Precautionary Principle as a Public Health Tool for Preventing Harm
from Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals (PBTs):

Karen Bowman, MN, RN, COHN-S Washington State Association of
Environmental and Occupational Health Nurses

Patricia Butterfield, PhD, RN Professor and Chair, Dept. of
Psychosocial and Community Health Nursing University of Washington

Judy Huntington, MN, RN Executive Director Washington State Nurses
Association

Elise Miller, M, Ed. Institute for Children's Environmental Health

Molly Parker MD, MPH

Janet Primomo, PhD, RN Associate Professor, University of Washington,
Tacoma

L.B. Sandy Rock, MD, MPH

Margaret Shield, PhD Coordinator, Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition

Washington State Nurses Association

Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders

Institute for Children's Environmental Health

Selected State Organizations Which have Publicly Supported Phase Out
of PBTs

Washington State Public Health Association
Washington State Medical Association
Washington Academy of Family Physicians
Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Washington State Nurses Association
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
Washington State Association of Occupational Health Nurses

Selected Organizations Supporting Precautionary Principle

American Public Health Association -- The Precautionary Principle and
Children's Health -- The Precautionary Principle and Chemical Exposure
Standards for the Workplace -- (APHA-pdf)

American Public Health Association (2002) -- The Precautionary
Principle and Children's Health American Nurses Association Washington
State Nurses Association, Supporting Precautionary Approach Towards
Occupational and Environmental Health American Commission for
Environmental Cooperation -- North American Environmental Law and
Policy Series, Volume 10 Access to environmental information / The
precautionary principle. (accessed: 13 June 2005). Physicians for
Social Responsibility (National PSR) Washington Physicians for Social
Responsibility City of San Francisco (2002) -- SF Precautionary
Principle Ordinance Los Angeles Unified School District (2nd largest
district in USA) City of Seattle; Introduction to Comprehensive Plan
Berkeley City Council Resolution, October 2003, which also called for
the development of a precautionary principle ordinance, beginning with
an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy within a year.
California Cal/EPA -- Environmental Justice Action Plan Portland,
Oregon Earth Charter World Trade Center Clean Up -- NYCOSH statement

Submitting Primary Author:
Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
INND (Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders)
8232 14th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Ph: 206.527.0926
Fx: 206.525.5102
E-mail: sgilbert@innd.org
Web: www.asmalldoseof.org

Co-Author:
Kate Davies, M.A., D.Phil. -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
Core Faculty, Environment & Community
Antioch University Seattle
2326 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
206 268 4811
kdavies@antiochsea.edu

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From: Washington State Public Health Association, Oct. 16, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]

WASHINGTON PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION ENDORSES CHEMICAL PHASEOUTS

Resolution

Submittal: October 2006 Annual Meeting

Title: Supporting Safer Chemicals Policies to Benefit Human and
Environmental Health

Whereas: Harmful chemical exposures pose the greatest threat to
children and women before and through reproductive age, impacting
children's health, development, behavior and learning, with exposure
to neurotoxic chemicals in critical child development periods linked
to lifelong deficits in brain function[1]; and

Whereas: The 'chemical trespass' nature of toxic environmental
exposures makes it difficult or impossible for persons to opt out of
exposure on behalf of themselves or their children, necessitating
societal measures to protect people, especially children, against
exposure, since many of the chemicals are ubiquitous and personal
action has limited ability to reduce exposure; and

Whereas: Persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals (PBTs) are linked
to serious health effects including birth defects, learning and
behavioral disorders in young children, cancers, and reproductive
failure[2]; and

Whereas: PBTs persist in the environment, bioaccumulate and biomagnify
in food chains[3]; and

Whereas: Studies have found high levels of PBTs, polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCB)s, lead and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) as
well as other hazardous chemicals such as pesticides and phthalates,
in the bodies and homes of Washington residents[4]; and

Whereas: The risk evaluation of PBTs is commonly calculated on
individual chemicals while children and the general population are
exposed to multiple chemicals and the risks of these mixtures have not
been assessed; and

Whereas: Recent scientific studies have documented rapidly rising
levels of PBDEs in human breast milk, with levels in Puget Sound women
documented at levels from 20 to 40 times higher than their European
and Japanese counterparts[5]; and

Whereas: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has conducted body
burden testing through urine and blood samples, with study results
finding significant levels of dioxins, heavy metals, pesticides and
other chemicals[6]; and

Whereas: A small-scale body burden study has been conducted in
Washington State, the Pollution in People report, showing the presence
of at least 26 and as many as 39 toxic chemicals in 10 individuals[7];
and

Whereas: In addition to health impacts suffered by families,
individuals, and children, significant economic costs are associated
with illnesses linked to environmental exposures, with over $2 billion
per year in health care costs tied to diseases and disabilities linked
to environmental contaminants[8]; and

Whereas: More than half of the over 15,000 high-production- volume
synthetic chemicals used widely in consumer products and dispersed
into the environment, are untested for toxicity[9]; and

Whereas: Companies, once motivated to adopt alternative measures, have
demonstrated the feasibility of using safer materials, chemicals and
processes, and

Whereas: Phasing out the use of potentially toxic chemicals is an
essential step in reducing these exposures in crucial fetal, infant
and childhood stages of development, as well as reducing these
exposures in general populations, through environmental, including
fish, contamination[10]; and

Whereas: The Washington State Department of Ecology has finalized its
Regulation on Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals, addressing
phase out of PBTs[11]; and

Whereas: The Washington State Public Health Association supports the
elimination of PBTs, in order to keep persistent toxic chemicals from
entering the environment in order to prevent harmful exposures"[12],
including elimination of PBDEs[13];

Therefore, Be It

Resolved, that: The Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA)
supports safer chemical policies to achieve the phase out of hazardous
chemicals, including persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals; and,
be it further

Resolved, that: The WSPHA encourages further development and use of
safer, cost-effective alternative products, materials, and processes,
including research and development of 'green chemistry', which
encourages chemical technologies that reduce or eliminate the use or
generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture, and use
of chemical products[14]; and, be it further

Resolved, that: The WSPHA urges that companies be required to provide
full information on the health effects of all chemicals placed into
the marketplace, with particular attention to potential effects in
groups at life stages most harmed by chemical insults, e.g. young
children and women who are pregnant or nursing.

[1] Chemicals in the environment and developmental toxicity in
children: A public health and policy perspective. Environmental
Health Perspective, 108 (3), S443-S448
; Goldman, L.R. and Koduru,
S.H. (2000).

[2] Environmental Protection Agency; Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic
Chemical Program; About PBTs


[3] Ibid.

[4] Sick of Dust: New Report Finds Hazardous Chemicals in Household
Dust; March, 2005. And: Flame Retardants in the Bodies of Norwest
Residents
; Northwest Environmental Watch, Sept. 2004

[5] Northwest Environmental Watch: Flame Retardants in Puget Sound
Residents
, First Round of Results from a Study on Toxic Body Burdens;
February 2004: p. 2

[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). Third national
report on human exposure to environmental chemicals. Atlanta, GA

[7] "Pollution in People: A Study of Toxic Chemicals in
Washingtonians"; Schreder, Erika, Washington Toxics Coalition; May,
2006.

[8] "What We Know and What We Need to Know", January, 2005 Davies,
Kate, MA, DPhil;

[9] Children's Health and the Environment: A New Agenda for
Prevention Research
; Philip J. Landrigan,1 Joy E. Carlson,2 Cynthia
F. Bearer; Volume 106, Number S3, June 1998

[10] Madsen, Travis and et al. Growing Threats: Toxic Flame
Retardants and Children's Health
, 2003 and Schecter, Arnold, MD,
Birnbaum, Linda, et.al. Polybrominated Ethers (PBDEs) in US Mothers'
Milk
Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 111 Number 14 November
2003, p: 1723-1729

[11] Washington State Department of Ecology, Persistent
Bioaccumulative Toxins Regulation
; February, 2006

[12] Washington State Public Health Association, 2004 Support Letter
for Phasing Out Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals

[13] Adopted Resolution #-04-03 : Protecting Public Health by Phasing
Out Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) -- Toxic Flame Retardants
2003-2004.

[14] US Environmental Protection Agency; Green Chemistry Mission
Statement
; Green Chemistry: Making It Real in the World.
Collaborative on Health and the Environment Partnership Call. June 19,
2006. Transcript and background resources available here.

Individuals Endorsing Resolution "Supporting Safer Chemicals Policies
to Benefit Human and Environmental Health":

L.B. Sandy Rock, MD, MPH

Richard Grady, MD Co-Chair, Environment & Human Health Committee
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

Therese M. Grant, PhD

Laura Hart, MD

J. David Heywood, MD

Sally Goodwin, MD

Charles E. Weems, MD

Katherine Davies M.A., D.Phil.

Janet Primomo, PhD, RN

Karen Bowman, MN, RN, COHN-S

Martin D. Fleck Executive Director Washington Physicians for Social
Responsibility

Selected List of Organizations Supporting Phase out of PBTs, including
PBDEs, through either resolution, or through letters presented to the
Washington State legislature:

Washington State Public Health Association
Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Washington State Medical Association
Washington Academy of Family Physicians
Washington State Nurses Association
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
Washington State Association of Occupational Health Nurses
Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders
Institute for Children's Environmental Health

Submitting Authors:

Submitting Primary Author:
Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
INND (Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders)
8232 14th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Ph: 206.527.0926
Fx: 206.525.5102
E-mail: sgilbert@innd.org
Web: www.asmalldoseof.org

Co-Author:
Nancy Dickeman, MA -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
Toxics Coordinator
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
4554 -- 12th Ave NE
Seattle WA 98105
Ph: (206) 547-2630 -- main office
(206) 354-2170 -- cell
nancyd@wpsr.org

Co-Author:
Margaret Shield, PhD -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
Coalition Coordinator, Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Ste. 540
Seattle WA 98103
Ph: 206-632-1545 ext 123
mshield@toxicfreelegacy.org

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From: Environmental Commons, Oct. 12, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]

MENDOCINO COUNTY MOVES FORWARD WITH PRECAUTION POLICY

By Britt Bailey

The precautionary principle was adopted as county-wide policy in
Mendocino County, California June 28, 2006. The county has now
identified two departments to begin implementing a pilot project
incorporating the principle in decision-making.

The County Executive's Office has chosen the Water Agency and the
Environmental Health deoartments. The project proposed as a pilot is
the Stormwater Discharge Program. This offers a very exciting prospect
because the Plan has a clearly precautionary intent-- to decrease the
amount of toxins, pesticides, fertilizers, pathogens, metals, etc...
getting into untreated waters, including streams and rivers receiving
runoff from impervious surfaces and land uses.

We believe that applying the Precautionary Principle to this existing
and required program will result in reducing untreated discharges that
contribute high levels of pollutants to receiving water bodies.
Pollutant levels from these illicit discharges have been shown in EPA
studies to be high enough to significantly degrade water quality and
threaten aquatic, wildlife, and human health.

The Mendocino Partnership for the Precautionary Principle invites
the public to get involved as we move forward with incorporating the
Precautionary Principle into the Stormwater Discharge Plan. A key
piece of the Precautionary Principle involves public participation.
Public meetings will be announced on our website. The next meeting
will be held in November. We will be sending an announcement when the
date and time is finalized.

Please see latest update to the website:

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From: Greenwire, Oct. 13, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]

INDUSTRY GIRDS FOR SPRAWLING E.U. REGULATORY SCHEME

By Russell J. Dinnage

A landmark European Commission plan for overhauling chemical
regulations is on its way to becoming law.

Five years in the making, REACH -- the Registration, Evaluation,
Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals Act -- is a 600-page tome
that has been making the rounds in government offices and corporate
headquarters throughout Europe, generating thousands of public
comments for European Union officials to review. The proposal is on
track to become law sometime next year.

Some experts are questioning U.S. readiness for a such a sweeping
proposal that figures to reshape the global regulatory landscape for
chemical manufacturers and all businesses that use chemicals.

"Businesses in the United States are completely not focused on this
topic," said Angela Logomasini, who tracks risk and environmental
policy for the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute. "The
reality of REACH is that it will affect everything in the business.
From downstream manufacturers, importers, domestic users -- people are
not aware that it could become a globally focused phenomenon."

But it is not easy to assess REACH's effect on U.S. interests. There
is, first of all, a lack of consensus about how deeply the law would
dig into industry's bottom line.

The Bush administration, for example, considers REACH "a very
important issue," but it has yet to produce an official evaluation of
its potential economic impact on the U.S. chemical industry, said Matt
Braud, spokesman for the Department of Commerce's International Trade
Administration.

Nonetheless, the administration has a strong opinion on REACH. "In our
view, and as expressed by many other governments, the E.U.'s proposal
remains overly expansive, burdensome and would be difficult to
implement effectively," Braud said. "We believe the E.U.'s stated
objectives of protecting human health and the environment are worthy
policy goals; however, achieving those goals must be applied in ways
that are consistent with the E.U.'s obligations to its trading
partners under the World Trade Organization."

Small and mid-sized U.S. chemical companies are keenly aware of REACH
"and are actively preparing for its impacts," said Jim Cooper, a
spokesman for the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers
Association.

The American Chemistry Council, which represents large companies, did
not return calls for comment on REACH's potential financial effect,
and DuPont Chemical Corp. spokesman Dan Turner said the company is
examining REACH but it does not have any comprehensive financial
impact estimates yet. A price tag in the billions

REACH would require the registration of more than 30,000 chemical
substances used in manufacturing within 11 years for the stated
purpose of protecting human and environmental health. The proposal
resembles the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act,
which regulates pesticides in the United States.

A November 2005 Government Accountability Office report said REACH
would "eliminate the distinction between new and existing chemicals
and require chemical companies to submit certain basic information on
chemical products produced over certain volumes."

Specifically, REACH affects all chemicals manufactured in or imported
into the European Union in quantities of 1,000 kilograms (2,204.6
pounds) or more.

REACH's Article 23 requires all chemical companies doing business in
Europe to submit testing data to the new European Chemicals Agency. If
a substance has qualities deemed "carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic,"
further testing must be conducted at a company's expensive on animals
and results submitted to the agency for a safety review.

Of 30,000 substances expected to come under regulation in 2010, 1,500
are estimated to have carcinogenic qualities, the European Union says.

No one can say with certainty how much it will cost to register a
substance. But the E.U.'s 2003 "Extended Impact Assessment" estimates
it would cost about $250,000 per chemical -- or $15 billion for the
industry as a whole over the 11 to 15 years it is expected to take to
fully implement the regulation.

Another study -- "E.U. 2004 REACH: the Impact of REACH" -- puts the
total industry testing cost at $3 billion and estimates that it will
cost between $10,000 to $37,000 to register a single substance,
depending on the size of the registration and whether animal testing
is needed.

And then there is a study by the German chemical industry association,
BDI, predicting REACH will cause a 1.4 percent loss of production for
German manufacturers and the loss of 150,000 to 2.3 million jobs.

Cooper, of the chemical manufacturers group, predicts testing will
quickly become an expensive burden. "Most of the official estimates
from the European Commission... do not seem to take into account
administrative costs, analytical method development, consulting fees,
interpretation of test results and other potential burdens," he said.
Cooper's group puts the cost of screening level tests for a single
chemical at about $250,000."For some chemicals, it will be in the
millions of dollars," Cooper said. "As with certain pesticides,
companies will probably choose to leave those markets rather than pay
for the testing."

Deadline looms

Most U.S. companies preparing for REACH implementation are pointing to
the 2008 deadline for pre-registering chemicals. A chemical that is
not pre-registered cannot be sold in the European Union.

Rob Donkers, the environment counselor to the European Commission's
U.S. delegation, said a manufacturer can pre-register by sending an e-
mail or even a postcard to the European Chemicals Agency that includes
the name of the company and the substances they want to register.

"It's just to signal an intention to be involved in the program and
does not stop production or importation," Donkers said. He dismissed
the 2004 E.U. study that says industry pre-registration costs would
range from $62 million to $125 million.

But Cooper and Logomasini see the pre-registration being a lot more
complicated than Donkers maintains.

"It is unlikely that the E.U. will have the resources or
infrastructure in place to handle all of the pre-registrations, let
alone sorting through them all and determining which companies should
be playing in which sandboxes," Cooper said.

Said Logomasini: "The fact that the E.U. officials are saying all pre-
registration will require is for a company to send in a postcard shows
that they have no idea what they are doing."

'A driver for innovation'

REACH is currently being read, debated and amended in the European
Parliament's Environment Committee. From there, it will likely go to a
plenary session of the full parliament the week of Nov. 13, Donkers
said (Greenwire, Oct. 10).

After a full parliament vote, he said, the measure will go to the
Council of Minister for a second reading in early December, when the
ministers will decide on new amendments. If there is contention over
the amendments, the proposal will go to a conference committee next
March for a vote on proposed changes.

"So by the summer of 2007... we will see full passage," Donkers said.
It would still take "another few years" until various administrative
agencies and the act "can be implemented effectively on a day-to-day
basis."

Donkers predicted that REACH would "serve as a driver for
manufacturing and process innovation" and assure consumers that
products are safe.

"REACH will benefit companies that are more responsive and have a no-
questions-needed attitude about the safety of their products," Donkers
said. "Industries that are responsible will have a competitive edge
under REACH."

But Logomasini said REACH will present a global regulatory morass for
industry.

"Quite frankly they have no idea what they are doing in Europe,"
Logomasini said. "There's no enforcement plan for this act. The E.U.
is simply saying 'trust us,' but even they don't know what it's going
to cost. It just doesn't seem rational, and I don't think we should
trust the bureaucracy when they say the impact will be minimal."

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical
examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in
action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making
decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to
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please Email them to us at rpr@rachel.org.

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Tim Montague - tim@rachel.org

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Table of Contents...

Washington State Public Health Association Adopts Precaution
The Washington State Public Health Association endorsed the
precautionary principle October 16 "as a vital component of our
preventive approach to public health in Washington State, advancing
the goal that all people have an opportunity to reach and maintain
their full potential."
Washington Public Health Association Endorses Chemical Phaseouts
The Washington State Public Health Association on October 16
adopted a resolution endorsing the phaseout of persistent
bioaccumulative toxic chemicals.
Mendocino County Moves Forward with Precaution Policy
Mendocino County, California, will apply precaution to stormwater
runoff.
Industry Girds for Sprawling E.u. Regulatory Scheme
The chemical industry continues to oppose REACH, Europe's proposed
new precautionary chemicals policy -- but the handwriting is on the
wall. REACH is coming, in one form or another.

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From: Washington State Public Health Association, Oct. 16, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]

WASHINGTON STATE PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION ADOPTS PRECAUTION

Title: Endorsing the Precautionary Principle as a Public Health Tool
for Preventing Harm from Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals
(PBTs)

Whereas: Every resident of Washington State has an equal right to
conditions that protect and promote human health, including a healthy
and safe environment, with all children of Washington State having an
equal right to conditions that ensure they can reach and maintain
their full potential, and

Whereas: Washington State recognizes that "health is a state of
complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence
of disease or infirmity" and a fundamental human right[1]; and

Whereas: Many conditions, including asthma, cancer, Alzheimer's
disease, Parkinson's disease, birth defects, behavioral disorders,
Autism, and chemical sensitivities, have been linked to environmental
toxicants which incur enormous individual and societal costs in
Washington State[2] and nationally[3]; and

Whereas: This growing knowledge confers an ethical responsibility and
duty to make decisions that promote and maintain human and
environmental health, thereby preventing disease, illness or
disability[4,5]; and

Whereas: A principle for guiding activities to promote a healthy and
safe environment and encourage human health is known as the
Precautionary Principle, which consists of four basic elements: 1)
taking preventive action in the face of uncertainty, 2) shifting the
burden of responsibility of safety to the proponents of an activity;
3) exploring and implementing safer alternatives to possibly harmful
actions, and 4) increasing public participation in decision making;
and

Whereas: While scientific studies have determined that even low-level
exposures to PBTs may cause serious and permanent health and
neurodevelopmental harm, it is difficult to directly attribute a
particular exposure to a particular illness or injury, emphasizing the
need to take action to prevent harm[6]; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle holds that when an activity
threatens harm to human health or to the environment, precautionary
measures should be taken, even if cause-and- effect relationships are
not fully established scientifically[7,8]; and

Whereas: Taking precautionary action is the common sense idea behind
many adages, such as "be careful", "better safe than sorry" and "look
before you leap" and is inherent in the understanding of the
Hippocratic oath of "first, do no harm", in essence, the principle
goes hand in hand with prevention, the cornerstone of public health;
and

Whereas: Precautionary action is the basis of many activities designed
to protect the health and safety of United States citizens, such as
requirements of the federal Food and Drug Administration to ensure
that new drugs are efficacious and safe before being placed on the
market, requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act
of 1970 that require employers to provide safe workplaces and working
conditions, and the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 that
acknowledges additional protection for children; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle has been incorporated in
international environmental treaties and in health, environment and
educational policies of numerous governmental entities in the United
States, including the city of San Francisco, and that Seattle includes
a statement on the precautionary principle in the City's Comprehensive
Plan[9, 13]; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle is a highly effective decision-
making tool for reducing negative and costly effects on human health
resulting from exposure to environmental toxicants[10]; and

Whereas: The Washington State Department of Ecology has developed a
comprehensive strategy, based on preventing harm to human and
environmental health, to reduce and eventually eliminate persistent
bioaccumulative toxic chemicals (PBTs), further developing an
accompanying PBT Rule which incorporates tenets of prevention [11,12]
and

Whereas: The Washington State Departments of Ecology and Health have
developed chemical action plans recommending phase out of mercury[13]
and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)[14] in order to protect
human and environmental health; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle's preventive foundation promotes
environmental and economic justice to protect the environment and to
safeguard the health of all people of Washington State; and

Whereas: The precautionary principle has been endorsed by the American
Public Health Association, with the APHA stating it "Reaffirms its
explicit endorsement of the precautionary principle as a cornerstone
of preventive public health policy and practice[15,16,17] and by
hundreds of other organizations nationally and internationally,
including the American Nurses Association[18]

Therefore, Be It

Resolved, that: The Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA)
endorses the Precautionary Principle as a policy-making, educational
and advocacy tool for preventing harm to health, behavior and
neurodevelopment from exposures to PBTs in Washington State; and be it
further

Resolved, that: The WSPHA endorses the precautionary principle as a
vital component of our preventive approach to public health in
Washington State, advancing the goal that all people have an
opportunity to reach and maintain their full potential.

References

[1] WHO Alma-Ata Declaration (1978).

[2] Davies, K. Economic Costs of Diseases and Disabilities
Attributable to Environmental Contaminants in Washington State.
Davies, K. "How Much Do Environmental Disabilities and Diseases
Cost?"; Northwest Public Health; Fall/Winter 2005.

[3] Landrigan, P. J., Schechter, C. B., Lipton, J. M., Fahs, M. C.,
and Schwartz, J. (2002). Environmental pollutants and disease in
American children: estimates of morbidity, mortality, and costs for
lead poisoning, asthma, cancer, and developmental disabilities.
Environ Health Perspect 110, 721-8.

[4] Gilbert, S. (2005). Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues: Our
Children's Future. Neurotoxicology 27.

[5] Rosenblatt, R. A. (2005). Ecological change and the future of the
human species: can physicians make a difference? Ann Fam Med 3, 173-6.

[6]. Szpir, Michael. Tracing the Origins of Autism: A Spectrum of New
Studies; Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 114, Number 7, July
2006
.

[7] Tickner, J. A. (2002). Precautionary principle encourages policies
that protect human health and the environment in the face of uncertain
risks. Public Health Rep 117, 493-7.

[8] Gilbert, S.G. (2005). Public Health and The Precautionary
Principle. Northwest Public Health, Spring/Summer 2005, 4.

[9] Environment Element, City of Seattle's Comprehensive Plan,
Department of Planning & Development (2005).

[10] Ashford, N. A. (2004). Implementing the Precautionary Principle:
incorporating science, technology, fairness, and accountability in
environmental, health, and safety decisions. Int J Occup Med Environ
Health 17, 59-67.

[11] Washington State Department of Ecology; Proposed Strategy to
Continually Reduce Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs) in
Washington State, Ecology publication #00-03-054;

[12] Washington State Department of Ecology, PBT Rule Chapter 173-333
WAC
;

[13] Washington State Department of Ecology and Department of Health;
Washington's Mercury Chemical Action Plan;

[14] Washington State Department of Ecology and Department of Health;
PBDE Chemical Action Plan

[15] Raffensperger, C., Tickner, J., ed. (1999). Protecting Public
Health & the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle.
Island Press, Washington, D.C.

[16] APHA Policy Statement #9606: The Precautionary Principle and
Chemical Exposure Standards for the Workplace. APHA Policy Statements;
1948-present, cumulative. Washington, DC: American Public Health
Association.

[17] APHA Policy Statement #200011: The Precautionary Principle and
Children's health. APHA Policy Statements; 1948-present, cumulative.
Washington, DC: American Public Health Association.

[18] List of endorsing organizations as well as additional information
on the Precautionary Principle is in the Seattle Precautionary
Principle White Paper: A Policy Framework for Adopting the
Precautionary Principle. The white paper and more updated date
information is available here.

Individuals and Organizations Endorsing the Resolution, "Endorsing the
Precautionary Principle as a Public Health Tool for Preventing Harm
from Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals (PBTs):

Karen Bowman, MN, RN, COHN-S Washington State Association of
Environmental and Occupational Health Nurses

Patricia Butterfield, PhD, RN Professor and Chair, Dept. of
Psychosocial and Community Health Nursing University of Washington

Judy Huntington, MN, RN Executive Director Washington State Nurses
Association

Elise Miller, M, Ed. Institute for Children's Environmental Health

Molly Parker MD, MPH

Janet Primomo, PhD, RN Associate Professor, University of Washington,
Tacoma

L.B. Sandy Rock, MD, MPH

Margaret Shield, PhD Coordinator, Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition

Washington State Nurses Association

Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders

Institute for Children's Environmental Health

Selected State Organizations Which have Publicly Supported Phase Out
of PBTs

Washington State Public Health Association
Washington State Medical Association
Washington Academy of Family Physicians
Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Washington State Nurses Association
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
Washington State Association of Occupational Health Nurses

Selected Organizations Supporting Precautionary Principle

American Public Health Association -- The Precautionary Principle and
Children's Health -- The Precautionary Principle and Chemical Exposure
Standards for the Workplace -- (APHA-pdf)

American Public Health Association (2002) -- The Precautionary
Principle and Children's Health American Nurses Association Washington
State Nurses Association, Supporting Precautionary Approach Towards
Occupational and Environmental Health American Commission for
Environmental Cooperation -- North American Environmental Law and
Policy Series, Volume 10 Access to environmental information / The
precautionary principle. (accessed: 13 June 2005). Physicians for
Social Responsibility (National PSR) Washington Physicians for Social
Responsibility City of San Francisco (2002) -- SF Precautionary
Principle Ordinance Los Angeles Unified School District (2nd largest
district in USA) City of Seattle; Introduction to Comprehensive Plan
Berkeley City Council Resolution, October 2003, which also called for
the development of a precautionary principle ordinance, beginning with
an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy within a year.
California Cal/EPA -- Environmental Justice Action Plan Portland,
Oregon Earth Charter World Trade Center Clean Up -- NYCOSH statement

Submitting Primary Author:
Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
INND (Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders)
8232 14th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Ph: 206.527.0926
Fx: 206.525.5102
E-mail: sgilbert@innd.org
Web: www.asmalldoseof.org

Co-Author:
Kate Davies, M.A., D.Phil. -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
Core Faculty, Environment & Community
Antioch University Seattle
2326 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
206 268 4811
kdavies@antiochsea.edu

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From: Washington State Public Health Association, Oct. 16, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]

WASHINGTON PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION ENDORSES CHEMICAL PHASEOUTS

Resolution

Submittal: October 2006 Annual Meeting

Title: Supporting Safer Chemicals Policies to Benefit Human and
Environmental Health

Whereas: Harmful chemical exposures pose the greatest threat to
children and women before and through reproductive age, impacting
children's health, development, behavior and learning, with exposure
to neurotoxic chemicals in critical child development periods linked
to lifelong deficits in brain function[1]; and

Whereas: The 'chemical trespass' nature of toxic environmental
exposures makes it difficult or impossible for persons to opt out of
exposure on behalf of themselves or their children, necessitating
societal measures to protect people, especially children, against
exposure, since many of the chemicals are ubiquitous and personal
action has limited ability to reduce exposure; and

Whereas: Persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals (PBTs) are linked
to serious health effects including birth defects, learning and
behavioral disorders in young children, cancers, and reproductive
failure[2]; and

Whereas: PBTs persist in the environment, bioaccumulate and biomagnify
in food chains[3]; and

Whereas: Studies have found high levels of PBTs, polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCB)s, lead and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) as
well as other hazardous chemicals such as pesticides and phthalates,
in the bodies and homes of Washington residents[4]; and

Whereas: The risk evaluation of PBTs is commonly calculated on
individual chemicals while children and the general population are
exposed to multiple chemicals and the risks of these mixtures have not
been assessed; and

Whereas: Recent scientific studies have documented rapidly rising
levels of PBDEs in human breast milk, with levels in Puget Sound women
documented at levels from 20 to 40 times higher than their European
and Japanese counterparts[5]; and

Whereas: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has conducted body
burden testing through urine and blood samples, with study results
finding significant levels of dioxins, heavy metals, pesticides and
other chemicals[6]; and

Whereas: A small-scale body burden study has been conducted in
Washington State, the Pollution in People report, showing the presence
of at least 26 and as many as 39 toxic chemicals in 10 individuals[7];
and

Whereas: In addition to health impacts suffered by families,
individuals, and children, significant economic costs are associated
with illnesses linked to environmental exposures, with over $2 billion
per year in health care costs tied to diseases and disabilities linked
to environmental contaminants[8]; and

Whereas: More than half of the over 15,000 high-production- volume
synthetic chemicals used widely in consumer products and dispersed
into the environment, are untested for toxicity[9]; and

Whereas: Companies, once motivated to adopt alternative measures, have
demonstrated the feasibility of using safer materials, chemicals and
processes, and

Whereas: Phasing out the use of potentially toxic chemicals is an
essential step in reducing these exposures in crucial fetal, infant
and childhood stages of development, as well as reducing these
exposures in general populations, through environmental, including
fish, contamination[10]; and

Whereas: The Washington State Department of Ecology has finalized its
Regulation on Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals, addressing
phase out of PBTs[11]; and

Whereas: The Washington State Public Health Association supports the
elimination of PBTs, in order to keep persistent toxic chemicals from
entering the environment in order to prevent harmful exposures"[12],
including elimination of PBDEs[13];

Therefore, Be It

Resolved, that: The Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA)
supports safer chemical policies to achieve the phase out of hazardous
chemicals, including persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals; and,
be it further

Resolved, that: The WSPHA encourages further development and use of
safer, cost-effective alternative products, materials, and processes,
including research and development of 'green chemistry', which
encourages chemical technologies that reduce or eliminate the use or
generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture, and use
of chemical products[14]; and, be it further

Resolved, that: The WSPHA urges that companies be required to provide
full information on the health effects of all chemicals placed into
the marketplace, with particular attention to potential effects in
groups at life stages most harmed by chemical insults, e.g. young
children and women who are pregnant or nursing.

[1] Chemicals in the environment and developmental toxicity in
children: A public health and policy perspective. Environmental
Health Perspective, 108 (3), S443-S448
; Goldman, L.R. and Koduru,
S.H. (2000).

[2] Environmental Protection Agency; Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic
Chemical Program; About PBTs


[3] Ibid.

[4] Sick of Dust: New Report Finds Hazardous Chemicals in Household
Dust; March, 2005. And: Flame Retardants in the Bodies of Norwest
Residents
; Northwest Environmental Watch, Sept. 2004

[5] Northwest Environmental Watch: Flame Retardants in Puget Sound
Residents
, First Round of Results from a Study on Toxic Body Burdens;
February 2004: p. 2

[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). Third national
report on human exposure to environmental chemicals. Atlanta, GA

[7] "Pollution in People: A Study of Toxic Chemicals in
Washingtonians"; Schreder, Erika, Washington Toxics Coalition; May,
2006.

[8] "What We Know and What We Need to Know", January, 2005 Davies,
Kate, MA, DPhil;

[9] Children's Health and the Environment: A New Agenda for
Prevention Research
; Philip J. Landrigan,1 Joy E. Carlson,2 Cynthia
F. Bearer; Volume 106, Number S3, June 1998

[10] Madsen, Travis and et al. Growing Threats: Toxic Flame
Retardants and Children's Health
, 2003 and Schecter, Arnold, MD,
Birnbaum, Linda, et.al. Polybrominated Ethers (PBDEs) in US Mothers'
Milk
Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 111 Number 14 November
2003, p: 1723-1729

[11] Washington State Department of Ecology, Persistent
Bioaccumulative Toxins Regulation
; February, 2006

[12] Washington State Public Health Association, 2004 Support Letter
for Phasing Out Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals

[13] Adopted Resolution #-04-03 : Protecting Public Health by Phasing
Out Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) -- Toxic Flame Retardants
2003-2004.

[14] US Environmental Protection Agency; Green Chemistry Mission
Statement
; Green Chemistry: Making It Real in the World.
Collaborative on Health and the Environment Partnership Call. June 19,
2006. Transcript and background resources available here.

Individuals Endorsing Resolution "Supporting Safer Chemicals Policies
to Benefit Human and Environmental Health":

L.B. Sandy Rock, MD, MPH

Richard Grady, MD Co-Chair, Environment & Human Health Committee
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

Therese M. Grant, PhD

Laura Hart, MD

J. David Heywood, MD

Sally Goodwin, MD

Charles E. Weems, MD

Katherine Davies M.A., D.Phil.

Janet Primomo, PhD, RN

Karen Bowman, MN, RN, COHN-S

Martin D. Fleck Executive Director Washington Physicians for Social
Responsibility

Selected List of Organizations Supporting Phase out of PBTs, including
PBDEs, through either resolution, or through letters presented to the
Washington State legislature:

Washington State Public Health Association
Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Washington State Medical Association
Washington Academy of Family Physicians
Washington State Nurses Association
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
Washington State Association of Occupational Health Nurses
Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders
Institute for Children's Environmental Health

Submitting Authors:

Submitting Primary Author:
Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
INND (Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders)
8232 14th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Ph: 206.527.0926
Fx: 206.525.5102
E-mail: sgilbert@innd.org
Web: www.asmalldoseof.org

Co-Author:
Nancy Dickeman, MA -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
Toxics Coordinator
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
4554 -- 12th Ave NE
Seattle WA 98105
Ph: (206) 547-2630 -- main office
(206) 354-2170 -- cell
nancyd@wpsr.org

Co-Author:
Margaret Shield, PhD -- WSPHA Member -- Yes
Coalition Coordinator, Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Ste. 540
Seattle WA 98103
Ph: 206-632-1545 ext 123
mshield@toxicfreelegacy.org

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From: Environmental Commons, Oct. 12, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]

MENDOCINO COUNTY MOVES FORWARD WITH PRECAUTION POLICY

By Britt Bailey

The precautionary principle was adopted as county-wide policy in
Mendocino County, California June 28, 2006. The county has now
identified two departments to begin implementing a pilot project
incorporating the principle in decision-making.

The County Executive's Office has chosen the Water Agency and the
Environmental Health deoartments. The project proposed as a pilot is
the Stormwater Discharge Program. This offers a very exciting prospect
because the Plan has a clearly precautionary intent-- to decrease the
amount of toxins, pesticides, fertilizers, pathogens, metals, etc...
getting into untreated waters, including streams and rivers receiving
runoff from impervious surfaces and land uses.

We believe that applying the Precautionary Principle to this existing
and required program will result in reducing untreated discharges that
contribute high levels of pollutants to receiving water bodies.
Pollutant levels from these illicit discharges have been shown in EPA
studies to be high enough to significantly degrade water quality and
threaten aquatic, wildlife, and human health.

The Mendocino Partnership for the Precautionary Principle invites
the public to get involved as we move forward with incorporating the
Precautionary Principle into the Stormwater Discharge Plan. A key
piece of the Precautionary Principle involves public participation.
Public meetings will be announced on our website. The next meeting
will be held in November. We will be sending an announcement when the
date and time is finalized.

Please see latest update to the website:

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From: Greenwire, Oct. 13, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]

INDUSTRY GIRDS FOR SPRAWLING E.U. REGULATORY SCHEME

By Russell J. Dinnage

A landmark European Commission plan for overhauling chemical
regulations is on its way to becoming law.

Five years in the making, REACH -- the Registration, Evaluation,
Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals Act -- is a 600-page tome
that has been making the rounds in government offices and corporate
headquarters throughout Europe, generating thousands of public
comments for European Union officials to review. The proposal is on
track to become law sometime next year.

Some experts are questioning U.S. readiness for a such a sweeping
proposal that figures to reshape the global regulatory landscape for
chemical manufacturers and all businesses that use chemicals.

"Businesses in the United States are completely not focused on this
topic," said Angela Logomasini, who tracks risk and environmental
policy for the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute. "The
reality of REACH is that it will affect everything in the business.
From downstream manufacturers, importers, domestic users -- people are
not aware that it could become a globally focused phenomenon."

But it is not easy to assess REACH's effect on U.S. interests. There
is, first of all, a lack of consensus about how deeply the law would
dig into industry's bottom line.

The Bush administration, for example, considers REACH "a very
important issue," but it has yet to produce an official evaluation of
its potential economic impact on the U.S. chemical industry, said Matt
Braud, spokesman for the Department of Commerce's International Trade
Administration.

Nonetheless, the administration has a strong opinion on REACH. "In our
view, and as expressed by many other governments, the E.U.'s proposal
remains overly expansive, burdensome and would be difficult to
implement effectively," Braud said. "We believe the E.U.'s stated
objectives of protecting human health and the environment are worthy
policy goals; however, achieving those goals must be applied in ways
that are consistent with the E.U.'s obligations to its trading
partners under the World Trade Organization."

Small and mid-sized U.S. chemical companies are keenly aware of REACH
"and are actively preparing for its impacts," said Jim Cooper, a
spokesman for the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers
Association.

The American Chemistry Council, which represents large companies, did
not return calls for comment on REACH's potential financial effect,
and DuPont Chemical Corp. spokesman Dan Turner said the company is
examining REACH but it does not have any comprehensive financial
impact estimates yet. A price tag in the billions

REACH would require the registration of more than 30,000 chemical
substances used in manufacturing within 11 years for the stated
purpose of protecting human and environmental health. The proposal
resembles the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act,
which regulates pesticides in the United States.

A November 2005 Government Accountability Office report said REACH
would "eliminate the distinction between new and existing chemicals
and require chemical companies to submit certain basic information on
chemical products produced over certain volumes."

Specifically, REACH affects all chemicals manufactured in or imported
into the European Union in quantities of 1,000 kilograms (2,204.6
pounds) or more.

REACH's Article 23 requires all chemical companies doing business in
Europe to submit testing data to the new European Chemicals Agency. If
a substance has qualities deemed "carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic,"
further testing must be conducted at a company's expensive on animals
and results submitted to the agency for a safety review.

Of 30,000 substances expected to come under regulation in 2010, 1,500
are estimated to have carcinogenic qualities, the European Union says.

No one can say with certainty how much it will cost to register a
substance. But the E.U.'s 2003 "Extended Impact Assessment" estimates
it would cost about $250,000 per chemical -- or $15 billion for the
industry as a whole over the 11 to 15 years it is expected to take to
fully implement the regulation.

Another study -- "E.U. 2004 REACH: the Impact of REACH" -- puts the
total industry testing cost at $3 billion and estimates that it will
cost between $10,000 to $37,000 to register a single substance,
depending on the size of the registration and whether animal testing
is needed.

And then there is a study by the German chemical industry association,
BDI, predicting REACH will cause a 1.4 percent loss of production for
German manufacturers and the loss of 150,000 to 2.3 million jobs.

Cooper, of the chemical manufacturers group, predicts testing will
quickly become an expensive burden. "Most of the official estimates
from the European Commission... do not seem to take into account
administrative costs, analytical method development, consulting fees,
interpretation of test results and other potential burdens," he said.
Cooper's group puts the cost of screening level tests for a single
chemical at about $250,000."For some chemicals, it will be in the
millions of dollars," Cooper said. "As with certain pesticides,
companies will probably choose to leave those markets rather than pay
for the testing."

Deadline looms

Most U.S. companies preparing for REACH implementation are pointing to
the 2008 deadline for pre-registering chemicals. A chemical that is
not pre-registered cannot be sold in the European Union.

Rob Donkers, the environment counselor to the European Commission's
U.S. delegation, said a manufacturer can pre-register by sending an e-
mail or even a postcard to the European Chemicals Agency that includes
the name of the company and the substances they want to register.

"It's just to signal an intention to be involved in the program and
does not stop production or importation," Donkers said. He dismissed
the 2004 E.U. study that says industry pre-registration costs would
range from $62 million to $125 million.

But Cooper and Logomasini see the pre-registration being a lot more
complicated than Donkers maintains.

"It is unlikely that the E.U. will have the resources or
infrastructure in place to handle all of the pre-registrations, let
alone sorting through them all and determining which companies should
be playing in which sandboxes," Cooper said.

Said Logomasini: "The fact that the E.U. officials are saying all pre-
registration will require is for a company to send in a postcard shows
that they have no idea what they are doing."

'A driver for innovation'

REACH is currently being read, debated and amended in the European
Parliament's Environment Committee. From there, it will likely go to a
plenary session of the full parliament the week of Nov. 13, Donkers
said (Greenwire, Oct. 10).

After a full parliament vote, he said, the measure will go to the
Council of Minister for a second reading in early December, when the
ministers will decide on new amendments. If there is contention over
the amendments, the proposal will go to a conference committee next
March for a vote on proposed changes.

"So by the summer of 2007... we will see full passage," Donkers said.
It would still take "another few years" until various administrative
agencies and the act "can be implemented effectively on a day-to-day
basis."

Donkers predicted that REACH would "serve as a driver for
manufacturing and process innovation" and assure consumers that
products are safe.

"REACH will benefit companies that are more responsive and have a no-
questions-needed attitude about the safety of their products," Donkers
said. "Industries that are responsible will have a competitive edge
under REACH."

But Logomasini said REACH will present a global regulatory morass for
industry.

"Quite frankly they have no idea what they are doing in Europe,"
Logomasini said. "There's no enforcement plan for this act. The E.U.
is simply saying 'trust us,' but even they don't know what it's going
to cost. It just doesn't seem rational, and I don't think we should
trust the bureaucracy when they say the impact will be minimal."

Return to Table of Contents

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical
examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in
action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making
decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to
answer such questions as, Why do we need the precautionary
principle? Who is using precaution? Who is opposing precaution?

We often include attacks on the precautionary principle because we
believe it is essential for advocates of precaution to know what
their adversaries are saying, just as abolitionists in 1830 needed
to know the arguments used by slaveholders.

Rachel's Precaution Reporter is published as often as necessary to
provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the subject.

As you come across stories that illustrate the precautionary
principle -- or the need for the precautionary principle --
please Email them to us at rpr@rachel.org.

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Tim Montague - tim@rachel.org

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