ECO-Action, April 21, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: The precautionary principle continues to advance in Georgia partly because ECO-Action in Atlanta keeps stirring the pot in strategic ways, and partly because many environmental justice activists see precaution as an essential part of the fight to overcome environmental racism and its effects. See our earlier story on ECO-Action.]

On April 20th, ECO-Action brought the word on the precautionary principle to the Morehouse College School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta.

The seminar was part of ECO-Action's ongoing work to increase support in the medical community for the precautionary principle and to inform health professionals about ways they can support communities to prevent harm from exposure to toxic hazards and protect public health.

ECO-Action staff member Yomi Noibi and others made presentations to the school's Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, highlighting the connections between protecting public health and promoting precaution.

In his presentation, Yomi emphasized why it is important to apply the precautionary principle to prevent harm to human health and the environment.

The Reverend Richard Bright of the MSM Prevention Research Center illustrated some unacceptable consequences from current "acceptable" practices with diethylstilbestrol, pesticides, and sewage and storm water storage.

Dr. Daniel Blumenthal, Chairman of the MSM Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, focused on the use of the precautionary principle in medical practice and pharmaceutical drug approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Three panelists then discussed the presentations. Dr. Martha Elks led off with a powerful presentation that questioned whether our current laws are "consistent with our knowledge and values?" She concluded by saying that harm avoidance laws such as the precautionary principle are consistent with U.S. laws and traditions.

Dr. Jewel L. Crawford challenged participants to maintain their health through exercise and diet.

Mr. Sherrill Marcus, an African-American grassroots organizer, emphasized that the precautionary principle is a much needed tool that is essential for getting justice for people of color.

Participants left with a greater understanding of the precautionary principle and agreed to spread the word on precaution.

We can expect more news about a possible Southeast Regional Conference on Precaution at the MSM in 2007.