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[GreenYes] Fwd: Re: Fwd: Fw: [ppst] NYC Passes Green Procurement Bills!

Thanks to the work of a lot of people over many years ... and initially to those of us on the Manhattan Citizens' Solid Waste Advisory Board's waste prevention committee, who in the early - mid 1990s crafted and got introduced the omnibus Intro 509 of 1995 ( and subsequent bills to set up environmental procurement in NYC, we have made some significant gains in waste prevention and environmental procurement. 

> For Immediate Release: For More Information:
> December 21, 2005 Mike Schade, CHEJ, 212-964-3680, 716-698-9951 (cell)
> mike@no.address
> Karl Breyman, CEC, 518-462-5527
> ceckarl@no.address
> New York City Council Passes Legislation to Reduce Purchase of Products
> Containing PVC, Lead, Mercury, Toxic Flame Retardants, & Other Toxic
> Chemicals
> City Uses Enormous $11 Billion Purchasing Power to Drive Markets for
> Safer, Environmentally Friendly Products
> (New York, NY) Today the New York City Council passed legislation that
> will reduce the Cityâ??s purchase of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic,
> Lead, Mercury, Toxic Flame Retardants, and other hazardous products,
> wielding its $11 billion annual purchasing budget to drive markets for
> safer, environmentally friendly products. The council passed Int. 544-A,
> Int. 534-A, Int. 536-A, Int. 545-A and Int. 552-A., a package of
> environmentally preferable purchasing bills.
> â??We applaud members of the New York City Council for recognizing the
> growing public health and environmental threats posed by products like
> PVC, the poison plastic,â?? said Lois Gibbs, the housewife-turned-activist
> who led the community effort to relocate hundreds of families away from
> the infamous Love Canal toxic waste site, and who went on to found the
> Center for Health, Environment and Justice. â??This new legislation is a
> major victory for the health of millions of New Yorkers. When produced
> or burned, PVC may lead to the formation of dioxins, known to cause
> cancer and other health threats.â??
> â??Given that over 90% of all persistent, bioaccumulative toxic chemicals
> leave manufacturing facilities, not into the air, water, or soil, but in
> products, this is a truly intelligent, forward-thinking contribution to
> the global shift away from the use of dangerous, unnecessary chemicals,â??
> said Karl Breyman of Citizensâ?? Environmental Coalition. â??This enormous
> market shift will help create an â??economy of scaleâ?? that will make
> safer
> products more available and affordable for everyone. Innovation in
> healthy materials is a profitable reality,â?? added Breyman.
> The bills that were passed today include:
> ï?§ Int. 544-A: Reduces the purchase of products containing hazardous
> substances. This includes products such as PVC that lead to the
> formation of dioxins, mercury-added lamps, toxic flame retardants,
> mercury, and other toxic materials in electronics.
> ï?§ Int. 534-A: Creates an office of environmental purchasing to develop
> and implement environmental purchasing standards to reduce the purchase
> of persistent bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals, improve indoor
> air quality, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, etc.
> ï?§ Int. 536-A: Purchases more energy efficient products such as computers
> and lamps.
> ï?§ Int. 545-A: Increases the purchase of products with recycled content.
> ï?§ Int. 552-A: Reduces the purchase of toxic cleaning and other custodial
> products to protect workers.
> New York City joins a growing list of cities such as Boston, Seattle,
> San Francisco, and Buffalo who have passed purchasing policies to reduce
> the purchase of products such as PVC that lead to the formation of
> persistent toxic chemicals (PBTs).
> PVC is the worst plastic from an environmental health perspective,
> dangerous throughout its entire life cycle of production, use and
> disposal. Consumers can identify it by looking for the number â??3â??,
> â??PVCâ??
> or the letter â??Vâ?? inside or underneath the universal recycling symbol.
> In addition, soft flexible PVC products often have a distinct odor, such
> as vinyl shower curtains.
> PVC poses a great risk to firefighters and building occupants in
> building fires, as it releases deadly gases long before it ignites, such
> as hydrogen chloride which turns to hydrochloric acid when inhaled. When
> produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, the most potent
> synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the
> immune and reproductive systems. Studies have shown plasticizers such as
> phthalates have migrated out of PVC consumer products, exposing people
> to toxic additives linked to reproductive defects and other health
> problems. Our bodies are contaminated with toxic chemicals released
> during the PVC lifecycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates,
> which may pose life-long health threats.
> PVC cannot be effectively recycled due to the many toxic additives used
> to soften or stabilize PVC, which can contaminate the recycling batch.
> In fact, just one PVC bottle can contaminate a recycling load of 100,000
> PET bottles. Safer, cost effective alternatives are readily available
> for virtually ever use of PVC. From safer plastics, to bio-based
> materials, there is a growing market for substitutes for hazardous PVC
> products. In the past year, Microsoft, Johnson and Johnson, Crabtree &
> Evelyn, Wal-Mart, HP, Kaiser Permanente, and Catholic Healthcare West,
> Firestone Building Products, and Shaw Industries announced policies to
> phase out the use of PVC in their products or packaging.
> Mercury, a heavy metal, is a persistent toxic chemical that already
> contaminates many lakes and streams in New York. Because it builds up as
> it moves up the food chain, many large fish are so contaminated that
> children and women of childbearing age should not eat them at all.
> Mercury can severely damage learning and brain development in exposed
> fetuses, infants and children. It can also harm the spinal cord, kidneys
> and liver. A study by Mt. Sinai School of Medicine's Center for
> Children's Health found that the U.S. loses $8.7 billion a year due to
> the impact of mercury on children's brain development. The NYS
> Department of Health has issued scores of fish consumption advisories
> warning NY anglers to limit or eliminate their consumption of certain
> fish due to mercury contamination.
> Mercury is added to numerous consumer, commercial, industrial, and
> medical products, and can be released to the environment during various
> stages of the product life cycle including production, transportation,
> use, and disposal. For example, mercury blood-pressure gauges can break,
> releasing mercury to the environment and potentially reaching dangerous
> levels in indoor air. Mercury-containing products are often improperly
> disposed of, resulting in mercury emissions from trash incinerators and
> landfills. Fortunately, there are safe, available, cost-effective
> replacements for most mercury-containing products. For example, 91% of
> chain pharmacies and the top ten largest pharmacy chains in the United
> States have stopped selling mercury fever thermometers. In addition,
> numerous states including New York, Washington, Michigan, Connecticut,
> and Maine have all enacted laws to restrict or ban the sale and/or
> distribution of mercury containing products. More than 1,400 health care
> facilities in the U.S. have pledged to become mercury-free.
> Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are toxic flame retardants used
> in consumer products such as computers, furniture and mattresses,
> carpeting and electronics. They are released from these products and
> found in dust in homes and offices. Humans are exposed through inhaling
> such dust. PBDEs persist in the environment and build up in our bodies.
> Studies show PBDE body burdens are doubling every 2.5 years, with
> American women having the highest breast milk levels in the world.
> PBDEs are linked to negative effects on neurological development and
> thyroid function, leading to impaired intelligence and motor skills.
> Laboratory tests of animals exposed to PBDEs found tumors of the liver,
> thyroid, and pancreas. PBDE is considered a possible human carcinogen,
> according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Burning of PBDEs
> releases dioxins and furans, which cause health effects at minute
> levels. Fortunately, there are safe, available, cost-effective
> replacements for most polybrominated diphenyl ethers, such as the use of
> phosphate type flame retardants, inherently flame resistant fiber or
> non-woven barriers, and product redesign to eliminate the fire load.
> Many electronicsâ?? firms have already eliminated or committed to
> eliminating PBDEs, including Philips, Electrolux, Sony, Dell, Intel,
> Apple and Hewlett Packard.
> The Center for Health, Environment and Justice is a national
> environmental organization that leads national campaigns on PVC,
> precautionary action, childrenâ??s environmental health, and provides
> people with technical information and organizing training to protect
> their communities from environmental contaminants. Citizensâ??
> Environmental Coalition is New York Stateâ??s leading Environmental Health
> organization working at the grassroots, state and national levels toward
> a future in which children are born without toxic chemicals in their
> bodies.
> For more information on the hazards of PVC, log onto
> For more information on the availability of safer, cost- and
> performance-effective products, log onto
> - 30 -
> --
> Mike Schade
> PVC Campaign Coordinator
> Center for Health, Environment and Justice
> 9 Murray Street, Floor 3, New York, NY 10007-2223
> Phone: (212) 964-3680
> Fax: (212) 349-1366
> mike@no.address
> Want to raise money for your group and spread the word about your issue?
> Ask me about joining CHEJ's first annual national Making the Link
> Walkathon!
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Maggie Clarke, Ph.D.
Environmental Scientist and Educator
New York City

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