The Precautionary Principle
A way of thinking crucial for survival
The release and use of toxic substances have had substantial unintended consequences, affecting human health and the environment. Some of these concerns are high rates of learning deficiencies, asthma, cancer, and birth defects.
Many doctors, scientists, and researchers believe existing environmental regulations and other decisions, particularly those based on risk assessment, have failed to adequately protect human health and the environment.
They believe that there is compelling evidence that damage to humans and the environment is of such magnitude and seriousness that measures are necessary to protect the physical, mental and social health of community residents.
The “Precautionary Principle” should become the basis for reforming environmental laws and regulations. It must be used when creating new regulations.
In the coming years, precaution should be exercised, argued, and promoted on many levels – in regulations, industrial practices, science, consumer choices, education, communities, and schools.
What is the “Precautionary Principle”
“When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” There is already evidence of environmental harm in our area. We must all take immediate precautionary actions. Prevention is our best weapon against environmental health problems.
What is an environmentally healthy community?
An environmentally healthy community is a community where the Precautionary Principle is used to protect the physical, mental and social health of its residents. ”
Key elements of the “Precautionary Principle”
Exploring alternatives to possibly harmful actions; placing the burden of proof on proponents of an activity rather than on victims or potential victims of the activity; and using democratic processes to carry out and enforce the principle…including the public right to informed consent.
What kinds of community environmental health risks need to be addressed?
Common Types of Community Health Hazards
| Outdoor Air Pollution|| Insect and Animal Control |
| Water Contamination || Housing |
| Sewage Disposal || Accident Prevention |
| Industrial and Commercial Operations || Motor Vehicle Control, Noise Control
Prevention of Hazards and Protection of Residents
- Releases of toxic and hazardous gases into the atmosphere by businesses, industries, motor vehicles
- Disposal by burial or incineration of hazardous solid wastes within or near the community
- Storage of toxic and hazardous chemicals in warehouses and railroad cars within the community
- Railroad and truck transportation of toxic chemicals through heavily populated areas
- Releases to ground and water of hazardous chemicals that could contaminate surface and ground water
- Open, uncontrolled burning of yard wastes and other wastes
- Inadequate, dilapidated, unsanitary or unsafe residential and commercial buildings in the community
- Disease-carrying insects and animals within or near the community
- Spraying of hazardous pesticides within the community
- Presence of motor vehicle hazards
Elected government officials and community residents can
eliminate or reduce environmental health risks if they:
- Draft, implement, and monitor a comprehensive community environmental health plan
- Identify major environmental health hazards and ways to eliminate or reduce them
- Draft and enact additional community ordinances to protect public health
- Fund programs to provide comprehensive monitoring of hazardous releases – provide strict enforcement and set up fines for violations to be paid back to the community to maintain the program
- Fund programs to address environmental health needs of overexposed citizens
- Plan and implement a comprehensive on-going community awareness and education program to keep residents informed of environmental concerns and measures for reducing and controlling them.
- Encourage residents to become involved in reducing and eliminating environmental hazards in the community
- Improve meaningful communications between residents and elected government official
ACE has and continues to work towards the goal of implementing the “Precautionary Principle” in our community by educating and encouraging elected officials and government agencies to carry out and enforce it.
Your help is needed. If you would like to participate
in or donate
to our efforts with this project or any of the other campaigns, programs or projects, please contact ACE
Together we can make our community safer for our children, our families, and ourselves.
P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464
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