The Wingspread Statement
January 15, 1998


The release and use of toxic substances, the exploitation of
resources, and physical alterations of the environment have had
substantial unintended consequences affecting human health and the
environment. Some of these concerns are high rates of learning
deficiencies, asthma, cancer, birth defects and species extinctions;
along with global climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and
worldwide contamination with toxic substances and nuclear materials.

We believe existing environmental regulations and other decisions,
particularly those based on risk assessment, have failed to protect
adequately human health and the environment - the larger system of
which humans are but a part.

We believe there is compelling evidence that damage to humans and the
worldwide environment is of such magnitude and seriousness that new
principles for conducting human activities are necessary.

While we realize that human activities may involve hazards, people
must proceed more carefully than has been the case in recent history.
Corporations, government entities, organizations, communities,
scientists and other individuals must adopt a precautionary approach
to all human endeavors.

Therefore, it is necessary to implement the Precautionary Principle:
When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the
environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause
and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public,
should bear the burden of proof.

The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must be open,
informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties.
It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives,
including no action.


Nicholas Ashford, M.I.T.
Katherine Barrett, Univ. of British Columbia
Anita Bernstein, Chicago-Kent College of Law
Robert Costanza, Univ. of Maryland
Pat Costner, Greenpeace
Carl Cranor, Univ. of California, Riverside
Peter deFur, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.
Gordon Durnil, Attorney
Kenneth Geiser, Toxics Use Reduction Inst., Univ. of Mass.,
.... Lowell
Andrew Jordan, Centre for Social and Economic Research on
.... the Global Environment, Univ. Of East Anglia
Andrew King, United Steelworkers of America, Canadian Office
Frederick Kirschenmann, Farmer
Stephen Lester, Center for Health, Environment and Justice
Sue Maret, Union Inst.
Michael M'Gonigle, Univ. of Victoria, British Columbia
Peter Montague, Environmental Research Foundation
John Peterson Myers, W. Alton Jones Foundation
Mary O'Brien, Environmental Consultant
David Ozonoff, Boston Univ.
Carolyn Raffensperger, Science and Environmental Health
.... Network
Philip Regal, Univ. of Minnesota
Pamela Resor, Massachusetts House of Representatives
Florence Robinson, Louisiana Environmental Network
Ted Schettler, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Ted Smith, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Klaus-Richard Sperling, Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Hamburg
Sandra Steingraber, Author
Diane Takvorian, Environmental Health Coalition
Joel Tickner, Univ. of Mass., Lowell
Konrad von Moltke, Dartmouth College
Bo Wahlstrom, KEMI (National Chemical Inspectorate),
.... Sweden
Jackie Warledo, Indigenous Environmental Network;