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Precautionary Principle - Applications
Number 201
New website, precaution resolution
June 2011
I.   cumulativeimpacts.org

The Science and Environmental Health Network and Collaborative on Health and the Environment have launched a new website focused on cumulative impacts, cumulativeimpacts.org. The site assembles the latest science, emerging best practices, analytical tools, and legal shifts that can reduce cumulative harm to the planet, communities, and people. It features a unique search system meant to facilitate self-education on the range of topics related to cumulative impacts. The site is a centerpiece of a collaborative project to develop precautionary policies that will prevent and reduce the cumulative effect of numerous adverse impacts on public health or ecosystems from environmental hazards. Solutions must also take into account factors such as age or poverty (where human communities are concerned) that increase vulnerability.

II. Richmond, CA council votes to practice precaution
Richard Connelly, Richmond Confidential, May 18, 2011

"The idea behind the resolution is that the city should use the precautionary principle. . . . This resolution will put the burden of proof on companies proposing new developments and businesses within city limits to show that there is little chance that a local group will be negatively impacted. Although the resolution is symbolic, it is a statement that the council will consider health impacts for any decisions they make—like new buildings or industrial and manufacturing developments—and will ask the organization proposing a new action to prove that it is unlikely to cause harm."

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III. Debating BPA's Toxicity
Stephen K. Ritter, C&E News, June 6, 2011

"The precautionary principle serves as a dividing line in arguments over the safety of bisphenol A."

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IV. It's time to apply the precautionary principle

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V. Triangle Lake residents alarmed by pesticide test results
By Day Owen, Register-Guard (Oregon), May 10, 2011

"My urine — and the urine of 20 of my Triangle Lake area neighbors — was tested and came back positive for two of the most dangerous pesticides: 2,4-D and atrazine. . . . We want meaningful pesticide reform, beginning with adoption of a strong precautionary principle. Whatever steps are necessary to prevent trespass of pesticides into our bodies against our will must be taken, even if that means banning them entirely."

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VI. How to petition for precautionary measures
By Patricio Chile, eHow, updated March 31, 2011

"1. Attend public meetings to seek community input on the issue. Discuss possible precautionary measures. Redraft the petition afterwards to include ideas gathered from these meetings. The petition should best reflect the community's needs. . . ."

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VII. Plant science industry defines "precautionary approach"

A fact sheet at this site defines the precautionary approach as a preventive measure put in place when:

  1. there is a threat of serious or irreversible damage to human health or the environment and
  2. the relevant science is not sufficiently certain to determine how a potential threat can be avoided or mitigated effectively.

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