Mendocino County Public Health Advisory Board  [Printer-friendly version]
June 13, 2005


[Rachel's introduction: A broad coalition of local officials and
interested citizens have asked their county board of supervisors to
consider adopting the precautionary principle as county policy.]

In June, 2005, the 19-member Mendocino County [California] Public
Health Advisory Board (MCPHAB) unanimously agreed to request that the
County Board of Supervisors study the implementation of the
recautionary Principle and its effect on County decision-making.

The decision by the Public Health Advisory Board is the first step
towards the County's adoption of the recautionary Principle. The
Principle represents a new way of approaching decisions that affect
the environment and human health.

MCPHAB was encouraged to draft the letter to the County Board of
Supervisors after hearing an educational talk on the Precautionary
Principle given by Debbie Raphael of the San Francisco Department of
the Environment. Ms. Raphael was a key figure in San Francisco's
passage of the Precautionary Principle ordinance in 2003. A newly
formed committee made up of individuals throughout the county and
spearheaded by Environmental Commons' Britt Bailey hosted and
supported Raphael's presentation. The committee includes Doug
Hammerstrom (Ft. Bragg City Council), Greg Krouse (Sustainable
Landscaper), Dr. Marvin Trotter (Public Health Officer), David Colfax
(5th District Supervisor), Dr. Melissa Gosland (Redwood Coast Medical
Services), Dr. Alice Diefenbach (Centers for Disease Control), Doug
Mosel (Californians for GE-Free Agriculture), and Sara O'Donnell
(Cancer Resource Center of Mendocino).

"This is a truly momentous day for Mendocino County. We are on the
forefront of a new way of making decisions -- decisions that will be
better for our environment and subsequently our health," said Britt
Bailey of Environmental Commons.

According to Sara O'Donnell, MCPHAB member and Director of the Cancer
Resource Center, "We believe the time is right for our County and its
citizens to be democratically involved in choosing the best
alternative with the least potential impact on human health and the
environment. For years we have made decisions based on a traditional
type of risk assessment that tries to justify harm," and the
Precautionary Principle reverses that trend."

Greg Krouse, a sustainable landscaper and host of a toxics-related
radio program, stated, "The notion that the county could adopt the
Precautionary Principle is very exciting. I think that the greater
democracy this process affords will eliminate the loggerheads that
often accompany controversial issues."

The County will examine the possibility of implementing the
Precautionary Principle while the County's citizens will be offered
opportunities to learn more about the Principle. A key element of the
Precautionary Principle includes participatory decisions that are
transparent and democratically derived.

Get more details about the Precautionary Principle here.

Britt Bailey, Director
Environmental Commons
(707) 884 -5002

Carol Mordhorst, Director of Public Health
Mendocino County Public Health Department
(707) 472 -2777

Sara O'Donnell, Executive Director
Cancer Resource Center of Mendocino County
(707) 467 -3828