Oregon Center for Environmental Health
September 23, 2005


Using a precautionary approach as a policy framework is an effective
way to support prevention of toxic pollution and to prevent harm to
the environment, human health, wildlife, and ecological systems. The
precautionary principle is an approach to decision-making which
requires consideration of the full range of direct and indirect costs
of actions to public health and the environment. It includes taking
anticipatory action to prevent harm when a threat of harm is known. It
also includes evaluation based on the best available science. The duty
to prevent harm is shared by government, business, community groups,
and the general pubic.

Precautionary Principle Workshop

On April 20, 2004 the Center partnered with the Sustainable
Development Commission (SDC) of Portland and Multnomah County to
sponsor the Precautionary Principle Workshop: A New Approach for
Protecting Human Health and the Environment. Over 120 people from
local government, environmental groups, academia, and the community
gathered to learn about this common-sense approach to pollution
prevention. Speakers included Multnomah County Commissioner Maria Rojo
De Steffey, Multnomah County Health Department Director Lillian
Shirley, and Director of the San Francisco Office of the Environment,
Jared Blumenfeld. View the workshop presentations. The workshop was
successful in initiating a dialogue locally about prevention of toxic
pollution and protection of human health. Click here to read the
April 20 news story on the workshop aired on OPB Oregon Considered.

Policy Change for Health and Environment

One outcome of the workshop was the formation of a workgroup
consisting of local leaders and members of the community. This
workgroup was created to develop policy recommendations to Multnomah
County and the City of Portland on toxics issues and the use of the
precautionary principle. Based on the feedback from the workgroup, a
joint resolution was proposed by the Center and SDC and adopted by the
city and county. Read the resolution and the accompanying report.
The resolution recognizes National Pollution Prevention Week and calls
for a Toxics Reduction Strategy to be developed using the
Precautionary Principle at Multnomah County and City of Portland
government. Read the Center's news release.

Oregon Center for Environmental Health
819 SE Morrison, Suite 235, Portland, Oregon 97214 ophone:
503-233-1510 ofax: 503-233-1528