Rachel's Precaution Reporter #22

"Foresight and Precaution, in the News and in the World"

Wednesday, January 25, 2006..........Printer-friendly version
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Table of Contents...

A Terrific PowerPoint Slide Show On Precaution Is Available Free
  Now you can explain the precautionary principle to your neighbors
  or your church group, using this simple, clear slide show, which you
  can grab off the web free of charge.
Maine Law On 'Extended Producer Responsibility' Kicks in
  We don't know 100% for sure that discarding old electronic gear
  into the natural environment will harm anything -- but there's a lot
  of evidence that it might. Such a situation calls for precautionary
  action -- specifically, "extended producer responsibility," which
  the state of Maine has adopted.
Canada's Supreme Court Upholds Precautionary Bans On Pesticides
  Several Canadian cities have passed precautionary laws in recent
  years, banning the cosmetic use of pesticides on privately-owned
  lawns. The pesticide industry challenged those new laws in court, but
  the Supreme Court of Canada just upheld the precautionary bans. In
  the U.S., 40 state legislatures have caved in to the pesticide
  industry and made such municipal laws illegal, but that could change.
New Nanotech Law Called for
  In a new report on nanotech, Terry Davies advocates a law that
  places the burden on nanotech manufacturers to show that their
  products are reasonably safe, as opposed to a law like TSCA [Toxic
  Substances Control Act], where the burden of proof lies on the
  government to show that a product is dangerous. Shifting the burden
  of proof in this way is basic to the precautionary principle.
Xerox Adopts a Precautionary Goal: Waste-free Products
  The Xerox corporation has set a new goal: waste-free products from
  waste-free facilities


From: Rachel's Precaution Reporter #22, Jan. 25, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]


A classy, free PowerPoint slide show is now available and it has
everything you need to put on a show for your neighbors or your
church, including a script that you can read while showing the slides.

It was prepared by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ
-- Lois Gibbs's group in Falls Church, Va.; Tel. 703-237-2249; and see
http://www.chej.org/ and http://www.besafenet.com/).

The slide show is available on the web in 7 parts. The slides
themselves are available in two forms -- as PowerPoint, and in
Microsoft Word so you can take them to a photocopy shop and get them
copied onto acetate overheads if you want them in that format.

The slide show is also available on a CD from CHEJ: Tel. 703-237-2249.

This is a FABULOUS resource. --Peter Montague

Get all seven parts off the web here:

a. The slides in PowerPoint format (1.2 megabytes).
b. The slides in Microsoft Word format.
c. Some hints and instructions for putting on the show.
d. An introduction for presenters.
e. A script you can read while showing the slides.
f. A sign-in sheet for those who attend the show.
g. An evaluation form for participants to give you feedback.

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From: Portland (Maine) Press Herald, Jan. 18, 2006
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By Tom Bell

A new law goes into effect today that makes Maine the first state in
the nation to require manufacturers to pick up the cost of recycling
old TVs and computer monitors.

Environmentalists say the law will encourage manufacturers to design
products that are less toxic and easier to recycle. They hope other
states will follow Maine's example.

"It's a very pioneering approach in this country," said Sego Jackson,
a county planner in Washington state, which is considering similar
legislation. "The Maine legislation has been breakthrough legislation
for the United States. It points us in a different direction."

There is growing concern nationally about the cascade of out-of-date
electronic equipment being buried in landfills or burned in
incinerators. Each computer or TV monitor contains about 5 pounds of
lead, as well as mercury, cadmium and other toxic chemicals. Flat
panel TVs and monitors don't have lead but contain mercury.

European governments and Japan for years have required manufacturers
to pay for recycling electronics and some appliances, but the United
States has been reluctant to do so, making disposal a responsibility
of local governments and local taxpayers.

In the United States, only California has a significant electronic
waste recycling program. But California's program is different from
Maine's. The Golden State collects an up-front disposal fee at the
store when products are purchased and then distributes the money to
pay recycling costs.

Environmentalists hope other states follow Maine, not California.

Maine's system is market-based. Manufacturers pay for the cost of
sorting and recycling, based on what is actually thrown away, paying
up to 42 cents a pound.

Maine's way is better because it gives manufactures an incentive to
design their products so they can be recycled more easily, said Jon
Hinck, an attorney with the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

"As you look around the United States and see activity on the
electronic waste issue, many of the best measures are inspired by the
Maine approach," Hinck said.

The Maine Legislature passed the measure two years ago. The law makes
cities and towns responsible for setting up collection times and sites
and shipping the items to one of five "consolidators" chosen by the

The consolidators sort the items, identify the manufacturer of each
item and send a bill to the manufacturer for the cost of recycling,
handling and transporting the item.

In the past, many Maine towns have struggled to find a way to dispose
of electronic equipment, said Michael Starn of the Maine Municipal
Association. He said the new law will be a big help.

By making it less costly for municipalities to get rid of old TVs and
computer monitors, more of the items will be recycled rather than
buried in landfills, said Carole Cifrino, an environmental specialist
with the state's Division of Solid Waste Management.

The law's greatest significance is that more populous states are using
it as a template for their own measures, said Barbara Kyle, campaign
coordinator for the Computer TakeBack Campaign, based in San Jose,

About 15 states are looking at taking Maine's approach, and bills have
been introduced in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey,
New York, Washington, Wisconsin and New York City, Kyle said.

"This model of producer responsibility is really significant," she
said. "Manufacturers are paying, not the taxpayers, so it's not a
taxpayer burden."

Washington state is looking at creating similar program. But that
state's legislation is even more stringent, requiring manufacturers to
pick up cost of collecting the items as well.

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 623-1031 or at:

Copyright 2006 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

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From: Environmental Science & Technology, Jan. 18, 2006
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Canadian cities successfully by-pass industry's legal challenge to
laws that keep pesticides off lawns and gardens.

By Janet Pelley

During the past decade, some Canadian cities have addressed rising
concerns about the safety of pesticides by banning pesticide use for
aesthetic purposes on all lawns and gardens, including those owned by
homeowners and the government. Now that a Canadian Supreme Court
decision has virtually eliminated the threat of industry lawsuits
challenging these bans, the pesticide bylaws are predicted to spread
rapidly across the country.

Although copycat laws in the U.S. have been forestalled by industry-
sponsored legislation, a growing number of U.S. cities are finding
ways to cut pesticide use without resorting to bans, experts say.

On November 18, Canada's Supreme Court rejected an appeal of
Toronto's pesticide law by the pesticide industry, which charged that
it illegally duplicated existing federal and provincial legislation
regulating the use of pesticides. Toronto's ban, passed in 2003,
forbids the so-called cosmetic use of pesticides and lays out fines
for scofflaws.

The court action reinforces the idea that local governments have a
role to play in prescribing how pesticides can be used, says Theresa
McClenaghan, legal counsel to the Canadian Environmental Law
Association, an environmental group. The decision means that the
pesticide industry won't be able to fight the city bylaws in the
courts, she says.

More than 70 municipalities (including Vancouver, British Columbia;
Montreal, Quebec; and Halifax, Nova Scotia) have already passed bylaws
prohibiting the cosmetic use of pesticides, and many more cities are
poised to pass bans now that the Supreme Court has cleared the way,
says Gideon Forman, executive director of the Canadian Association of
Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). He adds that CAPE applauds the
action because pesticides pose unacceptable risks such as cancer and
endocrine disruption.

Ahead of their Canadian counterparts, U.S. cities won the right to
pass local ordinances restricting pesticide use as far back as the
1980s, says Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, an
environmental group. However, the widespread embrace of pesticide bans
was subsequently thwarted by industry-sponsored "preemption"
legislation, adopted in 40 states, forbidding localities to make laws
more stringent than those of the state, he says.

As a result, U.S. activists have focused on banning pesticide use on
land managed by public institutions such as schools, hospitals, and
county governments, Feldman says. At the same time, local governments
in California and New York have begun to test the strength of the
preemption laws, and Canadian-style citywide pesticide bans may soon
make a U.S. debut, he adds.

In response to growing challenges to preemption laws, the pesticide
industry is engaging more heavily in grassroots action to help
consumers speak up in favor of pesticide use, says Allen James,
president of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, a trade

Copyright 2006 American Chemical Society

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From: Nano World, Jan. 17, 2006
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By Charles Q. Choi

NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A new law specifically targeting
nanotechnology could prove necessary to regulate its potential risks
[3.3 Mbyte PDF] and promoting its continued development, experts told
UPI's Nano World.

"If one takes a 10 or 20 or 30 year perspective, the idea of a new law
is not a radical proposition. In fact, it could be the best way to
deal with what are going to be significant uncertainties and
increasing complexities around this technology," said David Rejeski,
director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies in Washington, at
the announcement of a new report [1 Mbyte PDF] from the group
regarding the existing regulatory framework for nanotechnology.

Now was the time to think about how best to regulate nanotechnology,
"before there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of potential
products in the marketplace, before industry has invested millions,
tens of millions or hundreds of millions into ramping up production,
and before there have been any problems, accidents or mishaps that can
undercut public confidence or optimism about this technology," Rejeski

Nanotechnology "is being commercialized at an accelerating pace.
Roughly 60 or so consumer products are out there now and several
hundred other kinds of applications," said Terry Davies, a senior
advisor at the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. "The extent to
which it promises to either ameliorate or solve most of the major
problems that we face, going from cancer to cleaning up Superfund
sites to dealing with an oil shortage, and everything in between."

Davies coauthored the plan that created the Environmental Protection
Agency. He analyzed the existing regulatory framework of laws and
agencies that might impinge on nanotechnology and found most of it
demonstrated three significant kinds of weaknesses.

First, most statutes or programs failed to address the fact that
nanomaterials "behave differently from materials of ordinary size,"
Davies said. "The assumption built into most environmental statutes
and the health ones as well is that there is a pretty direct
correlation between volume or weight on the one hand and toxicity and
exposure on the other hand. That isn't true for nano."

Next, many programs lacked resources. For instance, the Consumer
Product Safety Commission, which administers the Consumer Product
Safety Act, "had a staff of about 900 or so in 1980, and it's now down
to 446 to deal with all consumer products in the United States,"
Davies said. "Four hundred or so is not enough to answer the mail."

Finally, statutes often had major shortcomings in legal authority when
it came to monitoring nanotechnology adequately, Davies contended. For
instance, the Toxic Substances Control Act [TSCA] has quite broad
coverage and is often considered the primary vehicle for regulating
nanotechnology. Davies, who wrote the original version of what became
TSCA, said it was "very flawed" because an "implicit assumption of the
act is that no information means no risk. In fact, TSCA provides a
disincentive for manufacturers to generate health and safety and
environmental information, and if there's anything we need in dealing
with nanotechnology, it's a regulatory system that encourages the
generation of information."

Instead of making do with existing laws to address the potential
risks nanotechnology poses [3.3 Mbyte PDF], Davies argued that a new
law specific to nanotechnology was necessary. Such a law should focus
away from products already well covered by existing regulation, such
as with drugs, food, medical devices and the like, and on consumer
products such as cosmetics.

For instance, "the cosmetics part of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act
is totally toothless. For all practical purposes, cosmetics are not
regulated in this country," Davies said. At the same time,
nanomaterials are increasingly finding their way into cosmetics, "and
we have no idea of what adverse effects, if any, they are having."
Nanomaterials are also finding their way into consumer products such
as clothing, golf clubs and tennis racquets, he noted.

Davies advocates a law that places the burden on nanotech
manufacturers to show their products are safe, as opposed to a law
like TSCA, where the burden of proof lies on the agency to show a
product is risky. For instance, all products containing nanomaterials
would have to go through testing and reporting requirements most
likely established via international coordination. The government
could take steps to ease the burden such requirements would have on
smaller companies, he added.

A new law would also require manufacturers to submit sustainability
plans that would show a product would not present an unacceptable
risk. Moreover, such a law should deal with product issues such as
imports, exports, national defense and citizen lawsuits, Davies said.

Not all nanotechnology analysts agree new legislation is necessary.
"New regulations would be a disaster at this point," said Sonia
Arrison, director of technology studies at the Pacific Research
Institute, a San Francisco-based public-policy think tank.
"Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the level of individual
atoms and molecules, offers the greatest benefits for society if left
to grow through modest regulation, civilian research, and an emphasis
on self-regulation and responsible professional culture."

While Davies applauded voluntary programs for nanotechnology oversight
that the EPA has established for manufacturers, he does not feel
voluntary programs offer a long-term solution. While such programs can
be put in place quickly, "the question is, do they include the people
you really want to include, the really bad actors who don't care very
much about being responsible corporate citizens," Davies said.

New York-based nanotechnology analyst firm Lux Research's Vice
President of Research Matthew Nordan said a concern regarding new
regulation was that "the net effect would be to slow things down." A
new law could be "very onerous and perhaps premature, given the
limited knowledge of the impact of nanomaterials. What we know about
the safety of fullerenes, for example, is all over the map, from
highly dangerous to probably benign. A lot of existing regulations can
be tweaked or interim measures can be imposed for responsible

Davies argued that waiting for a slowdown in nanotechnology before
instituting regulation would lead to years of delay, opening the
public and industry to years of risk.

"You've got a technology or set of technologies in a field that's
evolving very rapidly and will continue to evolve very rapidly for the
foreseeable future. So even if we're talking about putting something
in place 20 years from now, whatever you put in there is going to be
obsolete pretty fast also," Davies said. "One of the characteristics
which hopefully you can incorporate in anything that you do in the way
of legislation is an ability to adapt fast, to change fast, to keep up
with the changes in the technology itself."

Davies cautioned that a nanotech law was unlikely unless there was a
pretty strong consensus that it was needed. Even if dialogue
concerning a nanotech law does not lead to legislation, it could help
"identify ways in which we can get an oversight system that is
adequate to deal with the technology," he said. In the meantime,
programs could coordinate, amend and strengthen existing laws to help
manage nanotechnology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International.

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From: Xerox Corporation, Oct. 18, 2005
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Xerox Reports that, 'Waste-Free Products' Vision Helps Customers Meet
Their Environmental Objectives

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- Business Wire -- Spotlighting the company's
environmentally-friendly product portfolio as well as its ongoing
efforts to deliver "waste-free products from waste-free facilities,"
Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) today released its 2005 Environment,
Health and Safety Progress Report (3 megabytes, PDF), which details
the year's accomplishments, new initiatives and continuing challenges.

"Sustainable operations is a demanding goal but one that will
ultimately more than repay our efforts. We have demonstrated that you
actually can save money by investing in environmentally sound
technologies and business practices," said Patricia A. Calkins, Xerox
vice president of Environment, Health and Safety. "Sustainable
strategies also ensure that Xerox products answer the environmental
expectations of customers, from large federal agencies to small
family-owned businesses."

Xerox's environmental program embraces the entire product life cycle,
from selecting raw materials to integrating product features that help
people work wisely in small offices, large enterprises and commercial
print operations worldwide. It includes sourcing paper from
environmentally sound suppliers, designing equipment with parts and
subsystems that can be reused, and eliminating hazardous substances in

In addition, Xerox products are designed to help customers meet their
own sustainability objectives. For example, equipment is energy-
efficient and includes features for automatic two-sided printing to
conserve paper. Toner cartridges and other supplies are designed for
recycling. And Xerox-exclusive technologies such as solid ink generate
95 percent less consumables waste than comparable laser printers.

Notable new products include the WorkCentre(R) C2424, Xerox's first
office color multifunction system to bring customers the benefits of
solid ink, and Xerox Nuvera(TM) digital production systems with
innovative technologies that make machine components last longer and
scan pages with low-power, mercury-free lamps. Xerox's Premium Laser
paper was among the papers redesigned to add 30 percent recycled

Xerox is moving forward on a number of important goals, Calkins said,
including Xerox's pledge announced earlier this year to reduce
absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent from 2002 to 2012, its
program to achieve benchmark safety levels, and its initiative to
further control chemicals used in Xerox products. Among the highlights
in the report:

-- Ninety-seven percent of eligible new Xerox products met the
requirements of the international ENERGY STAR(R) and Canada's
Environmental Choice. By selling ENERGY STAR products and reusing
parts in Xerox remanufacturing operations, the company enabled energy
savings equivalent to 1.4 million megawatt hours of electricity in
2004, enough to light about 1.1 million U.S. homes for a year.

-- Improvements in energy efficiency enabled Xerox to reduce its
greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 6 percent between 2002 and 2004,
while energy consumption decreased by 3 percent.

-- All new products achieved Xerox's rigorous standards for minimal
use of hazardous materials and noise, ozone and dust emissions.

-- In 2005, the company launched its first office products -- such as
the WorkCentre M118/M118i basic multifunction systems -- designed to
meet the requirements of the European Union's restriction on the use
of hazardous substances, which takes effect in July 2006. Xerox
engineers continue to innovate to ensure Xerox products meet the E.U.
directive, called RoHS.

-- Reuse and recycling of Xerox equipment and supplies in 2004 kept
142 million pounds of material from entering landfills -- the
approximate weight of 8,600 African elephants. Over the past 15 years,
this program has given new life to the equivalent of 2.5 million
copiers, printers and multifunction systems.

-- Ninety-six percent of returned parts ineligible for reuse were
successfully recycled by Xerox's worldwide equipment recovery and
recycle operations.

-- Xerox workplace injury rates are 54 percent lower than when the
company's Zero Injury program began in 1997, yet they fell short of
Xerox's goal of a 10 percent year-over-year reduction. The company has
launched a Lean Six Sigma project to identify strategies to reach its

Xerox is committed to the protection of the environment and the health
and safety of its employees, customers and neighbors. The company has
received major environmental awards worldwide, and it has pioneered
conservation and protective environmental policies well in advance of
governmental regulations. As part of its legacy as a leader in
corporate citizenship, Xerox recently joined the Business Roundtable's
new "S.E.E. Change" initiative, which calls for corporations to adopt
or strengthen business strategies that support sustainable growth.

The 11th annual Progress Report is available here.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information about Xerox and to receive its
RSS news feeds, visit www.xerox.com/news. XEROX(R), WorkCentre(R) and
Xerox Nuvera(TM) are trademarks of XEROX CORPORATION. ENERGY STAR and
the ENERGY STAR mark are registered U.S. marks.


Xerox Corporation
Kara Choquette, 303-796-6420
Bill McKee, 585-423-4476

At A Glance

Xerox Corporation

Headquarters: Stamford, Conn.
Website: http://www.xerox.com
CEO: Anne Mulcahy
Employees: 58,100
Ticker: XRX (NYSE)
Revenues: $15.7 billion (2004)
Net Income: $859 million (2004)

Copyright Business Wire 2005

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  Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical
  examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in
  action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making
  decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to
  answer such questions as, Why do we need the precautionary
  principle? Who is using precaution? Who is opposing precaution?

  We often include attacks on the precautionary principle because we  
  believe it is essential for advocates of precaution to know what
  their adversaries are saying, just as abolitionists in 1830 needed
  to know the arguments used by slaveholders.

  Rachel's Precaution Reporter is published as often as necessary to
  provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the subject.

  As you come across stories that illustrate the precautionary 
  principle -- or the need for the precautionary principle -- 
  please Email them to us at rpr@rachel.org.

  Peter Montague - peter@rachel.org
  Tim Montague   -   tim@rachel.org

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