Rachel's Precaution Reporter #99

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2007.............Printer-friendly version
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Table of Contents...

Global Warming Now World's Most Boring Topic: Report
  Global warming has been identified as the topic most likely to
  prompt people into feigning heart attacks so as to avoid hearing the
  phrases "procrastination penalty", "precautionary principle" and
  "peer- reviewed analysis" ever again.
Precautionary Riskmongers
  This early attack on the precautionary principle appeared in the
  Reverend Sun Myung Moon's newspaper, the Washington [D.C.] Times,
  in 1997, long before the Wingspread statement on the precautionary
  principle had been written. This article set the pattern for all later
  attacks on precaution: it distorts and misrepresents precaution, then
  attacks its own distortions and misrepresentations as if they were the
  real thing. The old "straw man" tactic. We have never seen a single
  attack on precaution that did not rely on this tactic.
U.N. Told To Overhaul Corporate Responsibility Pact
  In early July, non-governmental organizations urged the United
  Nations to strengthen its voluntary "global compact," which says
  transnational corporations should "support a precautionary approach to
  environmental challenges."
Business Leaders Adopt Geneva Declaration on Responsible Practices
  On July 9, hundreds of transnational corporations pledged to adopt
  a precautionary approach -- voluntarily, of course.
Top Executives Seek To Bolster UN Business Pact
  Executives of transnational corporation say the United Nations
  Global Compact provides needed rules governing corruption and
  environmental protection, tacitly acknowledging that corporations
  cannot do these things themselves.
UN: Global Compact with Business 'Lacks Teeth' -- NGOs
  Critics say the United Nations' Global Compact is so voluntary that
  it really is nothing more than "a happy-go-lucky club."
Parents: Pesticide Spraying Caused 'Heartbreaking' Harm
  Two families in Indiana describe what happened to their young
  children when pesticides were sprayed in their homes.


From: The Age (Sydney, Australia), Jul. 18, 2007
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Global warming and the debate over whether man-made carbon gas
emissions are having a detrimental influence on climate change has
been ranked as the most boring topic of conversation on earth,
according to a new report.

The issue of global warming far out-performed other contenders for the
title, such as the production of goat cheese, the musical genius of
the artist formerly known as P Diddy and media speculation over the
likely outcome of the upcoming federal election.

These topics still tracked strongly, according to the report, but
global warming was identified as the topic most likely to prompt
people into feigning heart attacks so as to avoid hearing the phrases
"procrastination penalty", "precautionary principle" and "peer-
reviewed analysis" ever again.

The study, conducted by a non-partisan think tank located somewhere
between the small township of Tibooburra and the NSW border,
identified global warming as the current topic of choice for people
who want their dinner party to finish early.

According to the parents in the survey, global warming has now
replaced the traditional bedtime story when it comes to putting
children to sleep. The study found the topic was also being used
instead of water cannon by riot police around the world to disperse

In a key finding, the survey revealed that the amount of damaging
carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of discussing
the global warming issue now exceeds the greenhouse gas emissions of
northern China.

The survey also raised a number of important issues regarding the
global warming debate.

Of those surveyed, 83 per cent said that while they understood both
sides of the issue, they did not understand Al Gore.

Participants in the study were asked whether Gore's film An
Inconvenient Truth had helped enlighten people to the importance of
the global warming issue.

The standard response was that if the issue of global warming is as
important and urgent to Gore as he keeps saying every time he is on
Letterman, then why didn't he make the movie during the eight years he
was vice-president of the United States, the second most powerful
position in the world? Why did he wait until his political career was

The issue was also raised as to why Gore personally came out to
promote his film in Australia -- a relatively insignificant market -
and then make a big deal about all the carbon off-setting he had done
to counter the pollution his trip had generated. Over 95 per cent of
those who took part in the survey wanted to know why he didn't just do
it all from his house via satellite.

Other key findings of the survey were:

* 89 per cent wanted to know how it was possible for humans to control
the climate, given that they have enough trouble forecasting it;

* 96 per cent believe those who use the term "climate change denial"
are attempting to equate it with "Holocaust denial";

* 100 per cent of these respondents also believe such people should
receive lengthy prison terms for crimes against the English language;

* 79 per cent of the bands that took part in the Live Earth event did
so because they feared the planet would be destroyed by global warming
before they had a chance to receive free worldwide television

* 87 per cent only tuned in to watch the lead singer from Sneaky Sound
System, who is hot;

* 92 per cent of those same people watched her on mute because they
didn't want to hear that song again;

Of all the issues raised in the survey, most common was whether the
global warming debate was all just an elaborate ruse designed to sell

The study highlighted how those who subscribe to the prophecy of
global warming automatically commit themselves to purchasing a vast
array of expensive products, whereas sceptics don't have to buy
anything to support their point of view.

Over 98 per cent of people surveyed also predicted that the standard
response from global warming proponents to that last statement would
be: "yeah, it won't cost anything -- except the future of your

To obtain a copy of the full results of this survey please send $120
to this office. Cash only, please. No student concessions available.

Copyright 2007. The Age Company Ltd.

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From: Washington Times (pg. A15), Jun. 25, 1997
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By Marlo Lewis, Competitive Enterprise Institute

The Precautionary Principle -- the proposition that new technologies
or products should not be permitted until we know they won't endanger
health, safety, or biodiversity -- is central to the modern
environmentalist vision and underlies most Nanny-State regulation.
Indeed, for environmentalists, precaution has become a categorical
imperative. Thou shalt not tolerate even the risk of a risk. A good
illustration of the Precautionary Principle at work is Superfund, the
government's toxic waste cleanup program. Although you are more likely
to be struck by a falling airplane than be harmed by an abandoned
toxic waste site (there is no documented case of anyone dying from
groundwater contamination caused by a Superfund site); and although
public health could often be protected by inexpensive measures (such
as surrounding a dump with a chain link fence and a warning sign), the
EPA routinely commands businesses and municipalities to spend millions
cleansing the soil to pristine cond! itions. Imbued with precautionary
zeal, EPA proudly compels Americans to pay any price, bear any burden,
to eliminate the risk of a risk.

Had this risk-averse mentality held sway since ancient times, men
would never have brought fire into their huts and caves, domesticated
wild animals, plowed and mined the earth, founded cities, crossed the
seas, unlocked the secrets of electricity and the atom, or developed
open-heart surgery. Every technology extending man's dominion over
nature has been a two-edged sword, creating some risks in the process
of reducing and eliminating others. On balance, the benefits have
outweighed the risks; technological innovation has made the world a
safer place.

But to precautionary zealots, such risk-benefit comparisons are
irrelevant. All that matters is whether a substance or technology may
do harm. If the risk of harm cannot be ruled out, then the risky
product or activity should not be permitted, period. Since no
invention is risk-free (aspirin is deadly to some people, for
example), the Precautionary Principle is a recipe for technological
stagnation -- perhaps the most perilous condition of all. Nonetheless,
better safe than sorry easily persuades a public unversed in the
hazards of overcaution.

In the great climate change debate, the precautionary imperative has
become the greenhouse lobby's trump card. Science does not support
predictions of a global warming catastrophe. The Earth seems to have
warmed half a degree since 1880, but most of this temperature rise
occurred before 1940 -- before the largest increase in greenhouse
(heat-trapping) emissions; the effect preceded the cause. Moreover,
satellite and weather balloon observations over the past 18 years
reveal no warming at all, but rather a slight cooling. Finally, a
modest warming that occurs mostly in winter and at night (which many
scientists consider the most probable scenario) would benefit mankind,
producing milder weather and longer growing seasons.

Finding science an unreliable ally, eco-apocalysts resort to
precautionary rhetoric. Since industrial civilization could be warming
the planet, and global warming might accelerate dangerously in the
next century, we should take no chances. Curbing energy use to reduce
emissions may be expensive, but what is money compared to the lives
that might otherwise be lost?

The fatal flaw in this argument -- as in environmental advocacy
generally -- is its complete one-sidedness. Environmentalists demand
assurances of no harm only with respect to actions that government
might regulate, never with respect to government regulation itself.
But government intervention frequently boomerangs, creating the very
risks precautionists deem intolerable.

Examples abound. Federal fuel-economy mandates force automakers to
produce smaller, lighter, less crash-resistant cars, causing thousands
of highway deaths per year. FDA regulations delay the availability of
life-saving therapies, killing tens of thousands over the past decade.
Banning DDT revived malaria epidemics in the Third World, afflicting
2.5 million people in Sri Lanka alone.

Frank Cross of the University of Texas at Austin notes that regulation
can kill just by misdirecting resources and destroying wealth.
Resources available to protect public health and safety are limited.
Regulatory schemes that divert attention, effort, and money from major
threats to minor risks make us less safe. For example, the millions
local governments waste on gold-plated Superfund cleanups cannot be
used to improve police and fire protection.

Even more important is the fact that, for individuals as well as
nations, wealthier is healthier and richer is safer. Precautionists
ignore the obvious connection between livelihood and life -- as if
jobs and income were not the chief safety net for most of the world's
people. Even in relatively wealthy countries like the United States,
studies indicate that every $5 million to $10 million drop in economic
output translates into one statistical death.

So how can greenhouse alarmists be sure their anti-energy policies
won't destroy millions of jobs, and that the economic hardship won't
cause the death of even one child? They can't. And how can they know
spending trillions on global warming won't impair our ability to
survive other possible calamities (another ice age, a new viral
plague, a meteor encounter)? Again, they can't.

The Precautionary Principle says we should not go upsetting apple
carts until we're sure nobody will get hurt. Since draconian energy
restrictions would jeopardize health and safety, the Precautionary
Principle cannot justify such measures. Indeed, far from mandating
drastic action to avert a greenhouse crisis that may never materialize
in any event, the Precautionary Principle forbids us to adopt risky
climate change policies.

For far too long, environmentalists have gotten away with
precautionary deception. In the global warming debate, they admonish
us not to gamble with the planet. Yet they are more than willing to
gamble with industrial civilization. They cannot logically have it
both ways.

Of course, environmentalists may allege (despite strong evidence to
the contrary) that the risks of climate change exceed the risks of
climate change policy. But if they do so, they can no longer pretend
that slogans like "err on the side of caution" settle the argument;
they can no longer posture as defenders of a categorical imperative.
They will have to make their case on prudential and empirical grounds,
weighing and balancing one set of risks against another. Which means,
they'll have to fight on unfamiliar terrain.

Marlo Lewis Jr. is vice president for policy of the Competitive
Enterprise Institute.

Copyright 1997 News World Communications Inc.

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From: Reuters Africa, Jul. 4, 2007
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GENEVA, July 4 (Reuters) -- Human rights and environmental activists
urged the United Nations on Wednesday to overhaul its seven-year-old
initiative on business responsibility, saying it needed teeth to spur
companies to improve their practices.

Amnesty International, Greenpeace and ActionAid, speaking ahead of a
summit of the U.N. Global Compact expected to draw more than 1,000
executives and officials to Geneva, said that voluntary rules had done
little to improve companies' practices.

They said the United Nations should monitor adherence to the Global
Compact's 10 principles, such as pledges to abolish child labour and
work against corruption, and sanction signatory companies who are not
upholding them.

"What is needed are legally binding regulations to control corporate
activities with respect to human rights," Aftab Alam Khan of ActionAid
told journalists in Geneva.

The Global Compact was created in 2000 as a counterweight to anti-
globalisation protests, such as those that disrupted the 1999 World
Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle.

More than 3,000 businesses have signed onto the initiative, which has
no enforcement mechanism beyond public scrutiny and the requirement
for participants to report annually on their progress in meeting the
10 principles.

Greenpeace International advisor Daniel Mittler said many of the
initiative's guidelines were so ambiguous that companies did not need
to make any changes to their policies, citing as an example Principle
7 that reads: "Businesses should support a precautionary approach to
environmental challenges."

"The principles are vague and they are not enforced," he said. "The
Global Compact is simply not delivering."

Executives from Coca-Cola Co. , Ericsson  and Anglo-
American  are among those participating in the two-day
conference in Geneva which will open on Thursday with an address from
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

While Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell has said some 600
firms have been delisted in past years for failing to deliver real
changes, Amnesty International said such companies were dropped for
"technical reasons", such as not filing reports on time, and not for
their performance on substantive issues.

"It is not possible to either suspend or expel participating companies
in cases of substantive breach of the Global Compact's principles,"
Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International's head of economic relations,
told journalists in Geneva.

"The Global Compact must find ways to strengthen how companies are
held to account for non-compliance with its principles," she said.

In a survey of 391 chief executives of firms participating in the
Global Compact, released this week by the consultancy McKinsey & Co.,
59 percent said they were incorporating environmental, social and
governance issues into their core strategy "much more" now than five
years ago.

Another 34 percent said they were doing so "somewhat more" and 7
percent said they were integrating the issues the same amount or less
than in 2002.

Copyright Reuters 2007

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From: Ag-IP-news, Jul. 10, 2007
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Action Taken at The Second UN Global Compact Summit

GENEVA -- The second UN Global Compact Leaders Summit concluded on
Friday with a pledge by hundreds of business leaders from developed
and developing countries to comply with labor, human rights,
environmental and anti-corruption standards.

"Over these two days, it has been heartening to see such a prominent
group of leaders from business, Government, civil society, labor,
academia and the United Nations, display such a deep and broad
commitment to the principles of the Global Compact," UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon said in his closing speech.

"I am encouraged by your willingness to share and openly discuss
actions, experiences and challenges. Working together across sectors
in this way to address the most pressing issues facing business and
society is the hallmark of the Global Compact," he added.

Top executives of corporations such as Coca-Cola, Petrobras, Fuji
Xerox, China Ocean Shipping Group, Tata Steel, L M Ericsson and Banco
Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria adopted the 21-point Geneva Declaration.

Delivered by UN Global Compact Vice Chair Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, the
Declaration stressed that "It is unprecedented in history to have the
objectives of the international community and the global business
community so aligned. Common goals, such as building sustainable
markets, combating corruption, safeguarding human rights and
protecting the environment, are resulting in new levels of partnership
and openness among business, civil society, labor, governments, the
United Nations, and other stakeholders."

The Declaration spells out concrete actions for business in society,
governments and UN Global Compact participants.

Some 4,000 organizations from 116 countries -- among them trade
unions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and about 3,100
businesses -- have so far subscribed to the Global Compact, pledging
to observe ten universal principles related to human rights, labor
rights, the environment and the fight against corruption.

Addressing the business sector, Abu-Ghazaleh said "Your support will
exemplify your own commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

"It will advance its principles and goals, will provide a concrete
principle-based approach to CSR, will contribute to a more inclusive
and sustainable economy, and will demonstrate your championship for
the fundamental goals the United Nations," he further noted.

The Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact,
within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in these areas,
these principles are:

In human rights: Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect
the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights

While in labor standards: Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the
freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to
collective bargaining; Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of
forced and compulsory labor; Principle 5: the effective abolition of
child labor; and Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in
respect of employment and occupation.

In environment: Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary
approach to environmental challenges; Principle 8: undertake
initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of
environmentally friendly technologies.

Finally in anti-corruption: Principle 10: Businesses should work
against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

A Ministerial Roundtable chaired by General Assembly President Sheikha
Haya Rashed al Khalifa discussed the role of governments in promoting
responsible corporate citizenship. Six parallel sessions focused on
human rights, labor, climate change and the environment, UN-business
partnerships, corruption and responsible investment were held.

Global as well as local initiatives were launched at the Summit.
Through the "Caring for Climate" platform, Chief executive officers
(CEOs) of 150 companies from around the world, including 30 from the
Fortune Global 500, pledged to speed up action on climate change and
called on governments to agree as soon as possible on Kyoto follow-up
measures to secure workable and inclusive climate market mechanisms.

The CEOs of six corporations -- The Coca-Cola Company, Levi Strauss &
Co., Läckeby Water Group, Nestle S.A., SABMiller and Suez -- urged
their business peers everywhere to take immediate action to address
the global water crisis. They launched the "CEO Water Mandate," a
project designed to help companies to better manage water use in their
operations and throughout their supply chains.

Also launched at the Summit, the "Principles for Responsible
Investment" seek to disseminate the tenets of corporate citizenship
among capital markets. The "Principles for Responsible Management
Education" aim to take the case for universal values and business into
business schools around the world.

Over 1,000 people registered for the Summit -- most from companies,
but also from government entities, international organizations,
international business organizations, international non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), academia, foundations and international labor

The first Global Compact Leaders Summit took place in New York in
2004, and the next is scheduled for 2010.

Copyright 2006 ag-IP-news

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From: Reuters Africa, Jul. 5, 2007
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GENEVA (Reuters) -- Top executives from some of the world's biggest
companies sought on Thursday to bolster a U.N. corporate
responsibility pact, saying their firms would benefit from stricter
rules on corruption and the environment.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon backed calls from the heads of
Coca-Cola, Anglo American and Petrobras for more checks and balances
to ensure members of the seven-year-old Global Compact uphold its

Ban, who took over as United Nations chief in January, said firms who
signed up to the voluntary initiative must present their records on
human rights, labour practices, corruption and the environment for
scrutiny each year.

"We are going to strengthen this accountability and transparency," he
told a news conference in Geneva, where 1,100 business and government
leaders were meeting to review the Global Compact's effectiveness.

About 3,000 companies from 116 countries are members of the Global
Compact, created in 2000 as a counterweight to discontent over the
effects of globalisation. It requires firms to follow 10 principles,
including pledges to abolish child labour and to work against
corruption, extortion and bribery.

Human rights and environmental activists say the initiative has
brought little change in company practices because of the United
Nations' failure to monitor adherence to the principles, some of which
are vague.

Principle 7, for instance, simply asks signatories to "support a
precautionary approach to environmental challenges".

Executives meeting in Geneva noted the Global Compact had revoked the
membership of hundreds of companies that failed to report on their
corporate governance performance as required.

"The good news is that the number of signatories is increasing (and)
the quality is also increasing, because of the delistings," Anglo
American chairman Mark Moody-Stuart told Reuters on the sidelines of
the summit.

Jose Sergio Gabrielli, chief executive of Brazil's state-run petroleum
company Petrobras, said he supported a shift toward closer monitoring
of companies' commitments under the initiative to ensure its

Copyright Reuters 2007

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From: Interpress News Service, Jul. 6, 2007
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By Gustavo Capdevila, Inter Press News Service (IPS)

The U.N.'s Global Compact with international big business "at the
moment is so voluntary that it really is a happy-go-lucky club," says
Ramesh Singh, chief executive of ActionAid, a non-governmental

The international initiative, proposed by the United Nations to bring
companies together with U.N. agencies, labour and civil society to
support universal environmental and social principles and take action
to overcome the social and environmental challenges posed by
globalisation, has no binding power and hence no teeth, Singh told

ActionAid and other civil society organisations of global stature,
such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International (AI) and the Swiss-based
Berne Declaration, fired their criticism at the Global Compact's
weakest flank, which is its total lack of legal enforceability.

The environmental organisation Greenpeace believes that "voluntary
action, though welcome, can never be a substitute for much-needed
government regulation," said Daniel Mittler, Corporate Accountability
Adviser at Greenpeace International.

"Greenpeace is therefore opposed to the U.N. Global Compact," he said.

Jean Ziegler, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, went even
further. He is particularly interested in this subject because of the
laxity of standards for prosecuting human rights violations committed
by transnational corporations.

"I think that we have to fight the Global Compact, not only criticise
it, because it is a public relations operation of the big
multinational companies," Ziegler told IPS.

"The 500 biggest multinational companies controlled last year 52
percent of the gross world product," the Swiss academic said.

The controversy has come to a boiling point because of the Global
Compact Leaders' Summit being held in Geneva on Thursday and Friday,
at which over 1,000 representatives of multinational companies are
taking part, in addition to well-known civil society figures like
Irene Khan, the secretary general of AI; Mary Robinson, president of
the Ethical Globalisation Initiative; Guy Ryder, general secretary of
the International Trade Union Confederation; and Jeremy Hobbs,
executive director of Oxfam International.

The U.N. said that the Summit would, above all, focus on "building the
markets of tomorrow." Participants are addressing a range of core
issues at the interface between business and society, such as climate
change, human rights, corruption and access to finance and capital,
the U.N. said.

The Global Compact initiative was launched on Jan. 31, 1999 by Kofi
Annan, the former Secretary General of the U.N., in an address to the
World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"In the presence of the most powerful chiefs of companies, the Global
Compact was launched under pressure from the Americans (the United
States)," Ziegler told IPS, adding that "Annan is a very nice and
decent man."

The Compact challenges corporations to adhere to 10 principles of
corporate responsibility: firstly, to support and respect the
protection of internationally proclaimed human rights, and to ensure
that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

On the labour front, they should uphold the freedom of association and
effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining. They
should also eliminate all forms of forced labour and effectively
abolish child labour, as well as eliminate discrimination in respect
of employment and occupation.

With regard to the environment, businesses should support a
precautionary approach to environmental challenges. They should
undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility,
and encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally
friendly technologies.

The problem of corruption, originally completely forgotten by
companies and the U.N., was added belatedly as the 10th principle,
which states that businesses should work against corruption in all its
forms, including extortion and bribery.

Although critical of the Global Compact because of the lack of an
enforcement mechanism to make it compulsory, the head of Economic
Relations at AI, Audrey Gaughran, said that "such initiatives have a
role to play, in particular as forums for learning."

"Some companies are learning" what the 10 principles and human rights
mean in business. "We are seeing a definitive advance," she said.

"However, we must be careful that we understand the role of voluntary
approaches to business and human rights, including their limitations
and their weaknesses," Gaughran said.

Greenpeace's Mittler took the view that it is not the U.N.'s role to
organise business round tables. "It is the job of the United Nations
to set binding international standards and ensure that these can be,
and are, enforced," he said.

"The world needs action and binding global codes for corporate
behaviour," he added. "The Global Compact is not delivering."

Mittler pointed out that an analysis by McKinsey & Co., a management
consultancy firm, "showed that only in 10 percent of cases was there
any evidence of companies doing something that they would otherwise
not have done as a result of being a member of the Global Compact."

Oliver Classen, media officer for The Berne Declaration, one of
Switzerland's oldest non-governmental organisations, called on U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to "fundamentally rethink the 'accord'
with big business."

Mittler, in turn, asked Ban "to disassociate himself from
'greenwashing' by the coal and nuclear industries through the Global

"The UN's Global Compact is been a mockery because several companies
violating human rights have been free to join and remain in the Global
Compact, (thus) benefitting from an association with the UN," said
Aftab Alam Khan, ActionAid's head of trade.

Ziegler described the Global Compact as "a gentlemen's agreement"
which allows transnational corporations that sign up to the 10
principles to "put the U.N. logo" on their letterhead. The Swiss
corporation Nestle, for example, uses it to get away with violations
of the code on maternal breastfeeding in its marketing strategy for
infant food products, he said.

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From: The Daily Green, Jul. 18, 2007
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Two Indiana Families Suffer Severe Damage To Toddlers After Pesticides
Were Used In Their Homes

In a story that underscores just how dangerous chemical pesticides can
be, two families in Indiana say their lives were forever altered after
chemicals were used in their homes. In 1994, New Albany toddler
Christie Ebling was an active, bright-eyed girl according to her
parents. But she has spent the years since severely hindered by
thousands of seizures, resulting in broken bones, and requiring
constant care.

Christie and her brother AJ began to experience the seizures months
after powerful pesticides were sprayed in their home. Doctors
diagnosed them with chemical exposure. Their mother, Cindy Ebling,
miscarried her third child.

Not far away in Indianapolis, the Hannan family was experiencing flu-
like symptoms after their home was sprayed for ants. Doctors told Mary
Jane Hannan not to have any more children as a result of her level of

In the case of the Hannans, it turned out a worker admitted in court
to having sprayed 15 times the recommended amount of an insecticide
containing the organophosphate Diazinon. In 1995, a year after the
trouble had begun for both families, the EPA fined pesticide maker Dow
$832,000 for failing to report adverse health effects for related
chemicals. The Eblings are immersed in their own legal battle now.

Such cases of pesticide poisoning have been reported across the world
for decades, and they underscore why it is prudent to exercise extreme
caution when it comes to industrial chemicals. The European Union is
leading the way with a regulatory framework called the precautionary
principle, in which more burden of proof is placed on companies to
demonstrate that new chemicals can be safely used.

In North America, it's clear that integrated pest management,
biological control and organic farming and gardening will go a long
way to keeping our families, as well as the environment, safer.

Read more about this story here.

Copyright 2007 Hearst Communications, Inc.

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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 
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