Rachel's Precaution Reporter #88

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

Wednesday, May 2, 2007...............Printer-friendly version
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Table of Contents...

Precaution Will Go on Trial in the Philippines
  The government of Davao City in Mindanao, Philippines, invokes the
  precautionary principle to justify banning aerial spraying of
  pesticides on bananas. Banana growers say they'll fight this
  precautionary measure in court.
Nuke Plant Neighbors Issued Precautionary Pills
  People living near a nuclear power plant in New York state are
  being offered "precautionary pills" -- potassium iodide to protect
  their thyroid glands in case of serious radioactive releases. Another
  precautionary approach would be to eliminate the hazard by ending the
  use of nuclear power.
Celebrating 8 Years of Precaution Policies in Los Angeles Schools
  When Robina Suwol and a few friends objected to their children
  being sprayed with pesticides in school in Los Angeles, they were
  considered hysterical housewives. Now -- 8 years after they lobbied
  successfully for precautionary pest management policies in L.A.
  schools -- they're heroes.
Maine Moves Closer to Banning Deca Flame Retardant
  Maine may soon ban the brominated flame retardant known as deca.
In England, More Calls for Precaution with High-Voltage Power Lines
  The British Government should legislate to avoid any potential
  health risks from overhead high voltage power lines, says the Royal
  Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


From: MindaNews (Mindanao, Philippines), May 1, 2007
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By Walter I. Balane, MindaNews

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 April) -- From the halls of the City Council
and the newsrooms, the battle over the legislation to ban aerial
spraying has reached the halls of justice. The Pilipino Banana Growers
and Exporters Association (PBGEA), which last month indicated it might
go to court, asked the court Wednesday to declare the ordinance null
and void but pending that, the group wants a temporary restraining
order (TRO) and writ of preliminary injunction against the city
government to prevent it from implementing the ordinance banning
aerial spraying.

The city government stood firm on implementing the ordinance passed on
March 23, giving the banana industry three months or up to June 23 to
prepare the shift to ground spraying.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte last month said they will defend the ordinance
in court as only a TRO can stop its implementation.

City Administrator Wendel Avisado in an interview Monday welcomed the
suit saying the City Legal Office is ready and prepared to answer the
case. "We have no plans of backing out of the implementation," he

He said it is better that way (court battle) to settle the issue once
and for all on who is right or wrong.

He clarified that the bottomline of the case could be the challenge of
the constitutionality of the city council enacting the ordinance.

He said it is embodied in the Local Government Code of 1991's Section
16 on the General Welfare Clause.

PBGEA claimed the ordinance was oppressive, without due basis and
could lead to the collapse of the banana industry in the city,
according to the petition by its president Stephen Antig.

Antig earlier said they didn't want to resort to legal battle right

Antig last month told reporters the industry could invest in the
needed infrastructure demanded in the shift but asked the city
government to extend the phase out period from three months to five

Duterte found the requested period too long and told reporters the
city was awaiting legal challenge to the ordinance as it is intent on
its implementation.

PBGEA had earlier stressed the ordinance lacked scientific basis that
would prove the chemicals used harm people and the environment. City
legislators countered by invoking the precautionary principle.

PBGEA said in the petition the shift to ground spraying could mean
workers losing jobs and the city government losing millions of pesos
in taxes.

On March 24, Antig told reporters banana firms would continue doing
business in the city and would not displace jobs as he announced they
would continue sending feelers for reconsideration.

Environmentalists hit PBGEA's going to court. In a press release, the
Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spraying (MAAS) denounced the group for its
alleged arrogance and inability to respect the city government's
decision "over a policy that involved lives of the people and the

Lia Jasmin Esquillo, executive director of Interface Development
Interventions, Inc. (Idis), was quoted as saying it is a manifestation
of the group's (PBGEA) denial to recognize its responsibility to
provide the people with a secured and safe environment as it do

Davao City is only the second local government after Bukidnon, which
legislated a ban on aerial spraying in Mindanao.

At least 76 percent of the country's 4.28 million metric tons banana
output in 2004 came from Mindanao, 41% of which came from Southeastern
Mindanao region, where Davao City is.

Copyright Copyright 2006 MindaNews

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From: Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, N.Y.), May 2, 2007
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By Bennett J. Loudon, Staff writer

Monroe County [N.Y.] official are distributing potassium iodide to
residents who live within 10 miles of the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in
Ontario, Wayne County.

The free medication provided by the state Emergency Management Office
will be available through May 25 at these three Wegmans Food Markets
stores only: 900 Holt Road; 1955 Empire Blvd; and 2157 Penfield Road.

The medication protects the thyroid gland from radiation that might be
released if a serious incident occurred at the power plant. Most of
the people in the affected area live in Penfield and Webster.

Officials recommend that residents in the affected area to have one
pill on hand for each family member.

Maps at the stores will help residents determine whether they live
within 10 miles of the plant. People who receive an emergency planning
calendar from Constellation Energy each year are in the affected area.

Businesses in the affected area can get potassium iodide by contacting
the town of Webster at (585) 872-1000. Potassium iodide that was
distributed in 2002 should be placed in the trash, not in the toilet
or sink.

For more information, call (585) 753-5600 and press option 1.


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From: California Safe Schools, May 1, 2007
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LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- On Monday April 30, at Charles H. Kim
Elementary, California Safe Schools (CSS) celebrated the 8th Year
Anniversary of the Los Angeles Unified School District's
groundbreaking Integrated Pest Management policy called IPM. This
policy, the most stringent pesticide policy in the nation for schools,
stresses least-toxic methods of pest control, and has become a
national and international model.

Joining the celebration and presentation of special awards by CSS to
Los Angeles Unified Boardmember Julie Korenstein and Director of
Environmental Health & Safety Angelo Bellomo were Steven John, LA
Office Director, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Javier
Hinojosa of the California Department of Toxic Substance and Control,
as well as other officials.

California Safe Schools is a grassroots children's environmental
health Organization formed by parents who witnessed their children
walk through a toxic cloud of insecticide at an LAUSD campus nine
years ago. Founded by activist Robina Suwol, CSS has gained a national
reputation for its effective education of parents, schools, and
elected officials about protecting children from toxins.

"It takes a village -- and several bureaucracies! -- to protect
children's health," said Suwol, Executive Director of CSS. "I am so
pleased to see how far we have come and grateful that so many school
districts, communities, and government officials have contacted us for
assistance in replicating our policy and protocol. All children
everywhere deserve the protection of IPM."

IPM is an inherently sustainable method using low risk measures to
eliminate pest and weeds. The CSS policy adopted by LAUSD was the
first in the United States to embrace the Precautionary Principle and
Right to Know about pesticides used on school campuses. To ensure
implementation, the policy includes an IPM Oversight Committee. The
fifteen member team which has met monthly for almost a decade,
includes parents, environmentalists, community members, teacher,
principal, physician, school staff, County Health Representative and
an "independent IPM expert."

"As a physician who practices Environmental and Preventive Medicine, I
appreciate LA Unified's groundbreaking Integrated Pest Management
Policy," said Dr. Cathie Lippman. I've enjoyed serving on the LA
Unified oversight IPM Team, and often cite the successful program for
understanding the link between health and the environment. Happy 8th
Year Anniversary!"

Last month CSS and its founder Robina Suwol were honored by Volvo of
North America, and the US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9
for their "Outstanding Achievement " to protect human health and the

Robina Suwol Executive Director, California Safe Schools Tel :

Copyright Copyright Environmental News Network.

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From: Bangor (Maine) Daily News, Apr. 26, 2007
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By Kevin Miller

A legislative committee voted in support of a bill Wednesday that
would ban one of the most common types of chemical flame retardants
used in televisions and other consumer products.

On a 10-3 vote, members of the Natural Resources Committee sent the
bill, LD 1658, to the full Legislature for consideration. The
committee vote after a lengthy work session late Tuesday as well as
hours of public testimony earlier this month on the proposal to ban
the chemical known as "deca."

The measure would phase out the use of deca in televisions and other
electronics sold in Maine by 2010. The bill also would prohibit the
sale of mattresses and other upholstered furniture containing deca
beginning next year, although bill supporters say that is largely a
preventive ban since deca is not currently used in those products.

Environmental and health organizations claim that deca, a type of
polybrominated diphenyl ether, or PBDE, is a neurotoxin that could
pose health risks to humans and wildlife. The chemical is used in
plastic casings in televisions, computers, other electronics and some
upholstered products, such as the flame-resistant backing on drapes.

Deca manufacturers have steadfastly defended the chemical as safe,
well-researched and extremely effective at stopping or slowing the
spread of deadly fires. They also questioned whether the alternative
fire retardants are any safer or as effective.

The chemical industry and Maine organizations pushing to ban deca have
been involved in a public relations war for the past several weeks
over the bill.

The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum, which represents the
major manufacturers, has run television and newspaper ads defending
the safety of deca and suggesting that the bill could put Maine
residents at risk because of fire. Bill supporters have responded by
accusing the industry of putting profits ahead of safety.

The committee spent a considerable amount of time discussing whether
the top alternatives to deca are any safer.

In the end, lawmakers amended the bill to give the Department of
Environmental Protection the authority to restrict the use of other
flame retardants if health or safety concerns arise. DEP officials
would have to consult with the Maine Center for Disease Control and
Prevention as well as the state fire marshal about available

DEP Commissioner David Littell said Wednesday evening that he
supported the version of the bill endorsed by the majority of the
committee. The department had recommended adding deca to the list of
PBDEs already banned in Maine.

"The bill certainly works. It includes all of the department's
recommendations and builds on them, so we are quite pleased with it,"
Littell said.

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From: Voltimum, May 3, 2007
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As one of forty members of the advisory group SAGE (Stakeholder
advisory group to Government on electric and electric magnetic
fields), RICS [Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors] has called on
the Government to legislate to restrict the building of new homes and
schools next to existing power lines and on the placing of new power
lines close to existing schools and homes.

Since all groups agree that there is a raised risk for childhood
leukaemia, RICS believes that this is enough for the Government to
consider the need for precautionary measures in the built environment
in respect of exposure of people to EMFs.

Contributing member, Michael Jayne FRICS said: "The Government should
take precautionary measures in order to ensure that the health risk is
minimised by preventing the building of residential property within
specified distances of overhead power lines."

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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.

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