|Let thy food be thy medicine,
and thy medicine be thy food.
Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, 400 B.C.
Helping people take charge of their health
All health guides now available for
$9.95, free shipping via email
|New Principle to
Protect Human Health and the Environment
When it comes to activities that affect human health and the environment, "better safe than sorry" and "look before you leap" should be the guiding principles, say environmental leaders who met in Racine, Wisconsin, in late January, 1998.
At the conclusion of a three-day conference at Wingspread, headquarters of the Johnson Foundation, the diverse group issued a statement calling for government, corporations, communities and scientists to implement the "precautionary principle" in making decisions.
According to their statement, "When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically."
The 32 participants included treaty negotiators, activists, scholars and scientists from the United States, Canada and Europe. The conference was called to define and discuss implementing the precautionary principle, which has been used as the basis for a growing number of international agreements.
The idea of precaution underpins some U.S. policy, such as the requirement for environmental impact statements before major projects are launched using federal funds. But most existing laws and regulations focus on cleaning up and controlling damage rather than preventing it. The group concluded that these policies do not sufficiently protect people and the natural world.
Participants expressed alarm about growing problems such as learning deficiencies, cancer, and asthma as well as global climate change, species extinction and ozone depletion, which are often difficult to link with precise causes and predictable outcomes.
"The precautionary principle is common sense. We need to prevent questionable practices rather than simply dealing with their bad effects," said Ken Geiser of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. "We often don't know for sure what harm there will be until people have suffered or the damage is irreparable. Scientists don't want to say what will happen before they know for sure. By then, the damage is done."
"Most people think we already have the precautionary principle," said Diane Takvorian, a community organizer with the Environmental Health Coalition in San Diego, California. "Then something poisons their food or water or makes them ill and they are surprised. They are outraged that democracy doesn't seem to apply to their own health."
"Precaution is natural in our lives," said Gordon Durnil, a lawyer from Indianapolis, Indiana. "From my perspective as a conservative Republican, this is a conservative principle."
Durnil, who served during the Bush administration on a commission established to resolve problems between the United States and Canada, said, "I found a system that used scientific uncertainty as proof that no harm was possible. Many policy makers and many in the public believe that if you can't prove it is true, then it is not true."
Durnil said the commission learned that governments were stocking fish in the Great Lakes and then were warning people not to eat those fish. But when commissioners asked scientists what they knew about the effects of pollutants on public health and wildlife, scientists were reluctant to answer.
"Then we stopped asking scientists what they knew and started asking them what they believed," Durnil said. "That's when we began getting at the truth.
Carolyn Raffensperger, coordinator of a network that links scientists with environmental groups and issues, said the precautionary principle "has the potential to change how we make decisions about public health and the environment. This principle challenges business and government to think and act in a different way." Joel Tickner, also with the network, elaborated by saying "the challenge is to act on a suspicion of harm and be creative about those actions. Precautionary action may include pursuing safer alternatives, restricting or phasing out practices or substances, developing new "clean" technologies, or doing nothing at all."
Participants noted that current policies such as risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis give the benefit of the doubt to new products and technologies, which may later prove harmful. And when damage occurs, victims and their advocates have the difficult task of proving that a product or activity was responsible.
The precautionary principle shifts the burden of proof, insisting that those responsible for an activity must vouch for its harmlessness and be held responsible if damage occurs.
"The process of applying the precautionary principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties," the group's statement concluded.
Raffensperger added, "The role of science is essential. But the public must be fully involved. Informed consent is just as essential."
The conference was convened by the Science and Environmental Health Network, an organization that links science with the public interest, and by the Johnson Foundation, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the C.S. Fund and the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle
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.
(Affiliations are noted for identification purposes only.)
Dr. Nicholas Ashford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For further information contact: Carolyn Raffensperger, Science and Environmental Health Network, Phone: 701-763-6286 E-mail: email@example.com
Natural Therapy Home Page
Order a Natural Therapy Guide
©Graphics, Web design, and content Copyright 2003-2015 by Jonathan L.
HealthyAgain and HealthyHomes are trademarks of Jonathan L. Campbell of Massachusetts, as of June 1, 2010
Boston-Alert, Community-Alert, and Community Alert and Bulletin are trademarks of Jonathan L. Campbell. of Massachusetts, August 21, 2010
Jonathan Campbell, Health Consultant
124 Metropolitan Ave.
Roslindale, MA 02131-4208
If you would like to schedule a consultation with Jonathan, please click here.
Could Vitamin C stop the Ebola epidemic?
Diabetes, Pre-diabetes, and Severe Hypoglycemia are caused by Cardiovascular Disease
All health guides are now free for download
Now Available For Free Download: The Looting of Social Security by economist Alan Smith, http://www.thebiglie.net
Japan Nuclear Emergency and Worldwide Fallout - What To Do? http://www.healthy-again.net/japannuclearemergency.htm
Has your doctor prescribed Lipitor or another statin drug? Just say no! http://www.healthy-again.net/lipitor.htm
You don't need to take statin drugs...please don't take them! http://www.healthy-again.net/lipitor.htm
Muscle aches, weakness, numbness, brain fog - have you been harmed by Lipitor? http://www.healthy-again.net/lipitor.htm
Can 40 million people be wrong on Lipitor? Yes they can! http://www.healthy-again.net/wrongonlipitor.htm
Lipitor may ruin your health! http://www.healthy-again.net/lipitor.htm
Read about Lipitor side effects - http://www.healthy-again.net/lipitor.htm
If you are seeking a natural therapy, treatment, remedy, or cure for cancer, heart disease, AIDS, or other chronic illness: go to http://www.healthy-again.net
Swine Flu Vaccine Causes Miscarriage: http://www.healthy-again.net/swinefluvaccine.htm
Effective Natural Treatment for cancer: http://www.healthy-again.net/cancertherapy.htm
Cure - Reverse - Heart Disease: http://www.healthy-again.net
Effective Natural Treatment for heart disease: http://www.healthy-again.net/cvd.htm
Effective Natural Treatment for hepatitis: http://www.healthy-again.net/hepatitis.htm
30-60 Million People Are Being Harmed By Statin Drugs. Are You One Of Them? http://www.healthy-again.net/lipitor.htm
Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS) Is A Toxic Fraud - Please Don't Take It! http://www.healthy-again.net/mms.htm
Colloidal Silver is Toxic - Don't Take It! http://www.healthy-again.net/silver.htm
"treatments" and "cures" to avoid:
Protocel (also called Cancell, Cantron, Sheridan's Formula)
Infrared sauna (especially far infrared, which actually causes cancer)
Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS)
Zeolite liquid (NCD)
Any treatment that specifies not to take Vitamin C
Thinking about getting an HIV Test? Don't! http://www.healthy-again.net/aidtests.htm
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Can Be Avoided! http://www.healthy-again.net/sids.htm
What's Wrong With Dricore: http://www.healthy-again.net/homeqa/dricore.htm
Reliable Concrete Cutting Massachusetts: http://www.healthy-again.net/homeqa/bcd.htm
Looting Social Security - How Reagan and Greenspan Stole the Trust Fund: http://www.thebiglie.net
How to Buy Siliver and Gold - An Economic and Health Survival Guide - Navigating Through Economic Turmoil: http://www.healthy-again.net/community-alert/survivalguides.htm
Bauman Remodeling of Dedham, a review: http://www.healthy-again.net/homeqa/contractorfrom.htm
Stop Spam - Subscribe to SpamCop - http://www.spamcop.net
Reduce The Burden of the HIV and AIDS diagnosis - http://www.reducetheburden.org
Quitting AIDS drugs is hard to do - http://www.healthy-again.net/quittingaidsdrugs.htm
Danger - Never Get An HIV Test - Ever! http://www.healthy-again.net/aidstests.htm
What Is AIDS? http://www.healthy-again.net/aids.htm
Conventional Medicine Does Not Provide Answers - http://www.healthy-again.net/conventionalmedicine.htm
Glenn Beck and Goldline - Is This a Good Deal for Buying Gold?
North Andover, MA
West Newbury, MA
North Reading, MA
Jamaica Plain, MA
West Roxbury, MA
Hyde Park, MA