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Chan's press release, 28 March 2001:
requiring the state to adopt a strategy for eliminating the worst
environmental health toxins was introduced today by Assemblywoman
Wilma Chan (D-Oakland). Assembly Bill 498 targets pollutants known
as Persistent, Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs) because of their health
risks to children and babies due to their toxicity, persistence
in ecosystems and accumulation in the food chain.
need a statewide strategy to eliminate toxins linked to cancer,
developmental disabilities and immune system disorders that disproportionately
affect children and babies in low income urban areas. Pollution
prevention is the key," said Chan.
exposure can be reduced or eliminated through procurement, design,
operation and disposal decisions that reduce or eliminate products
that are manufactured with, contain or produce PBTs.
want the Secretary for Environmental Protection to examine pollution
prevention practices in procurement, property design, construction,
maintenance and demolition, materials use, and waste management
and develop a statewide plan to eliminate new PBTs," said Chan.
Under the bill, the Secretary for Environmental protection will
have to present a plan to the Legislature by March 1, 2002.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has established
a list of priority PBTs, including dioxins and mercury which have
been linked to increased cancer risk, harm to children and the fetuses,
disorders of the immune, developmental, hormonal, and reproductive
systems, as well as other human health problems.
the Bay Area, residents who consume fish from the Bay are at additional
risk from PBT exposure as dioxin and mercury contamination in fish
reaches health advisory levels throughout the San Francisco Bay,
San Francisco Bay fish consumers are predominantly low income and
people of color.
and babies are especially vulnerable to the health effects of PBTs,
as nursing infants take in 50-100 times more dioxins than adults
and fetuses may be exposed to mercury through the mother's blood
while infants may be exposed through breast milk. US EPA's June
2000 reassessment of dioxins health effects estimates that the general
public's exposures are near levels that may cause adverse health
effects, and indicates an approximate 10-fold increased cancer risk
over previous assessments.
number of state and national associations and agencies including
the California Medical Association, the American Public Health Association,
the United Nations Environment Program, and the International Joint
Commission of the U.S. and Canadian governments have agreed upon
the need to reduce or eliminate PBTs in the environment.
of new PBT pollution include incineration and combustion of medical,
hazardous, solid and other waste, combustion of diesel and other
fuels, production of PVC plastics, chlorinated chemical manufacturing,
paper bleaching and production, metal refining and reclamation,
oil and waste oil refining, and use and disposal of mercury and