Americans Declare Independence From Hazardous Chemicals

From: Robina Suwol
Date: 04 Jul 2003
Time: 04:17:04
Remote Name:


Copyright 2003 U.S. Newswire, Inc.
U.S. Newswire
July 1, 2003 Tuesday
SECTION: National Desk and Environmental Reporter
HEADLINE: Americans Declare Independence From Hazardous Chemicals: Over 10,000 Citizens and 60 Groups Speak Out for Chemical Policy Reform DATELINE: WASHINGTON, July 1
On the eve of the Fourth of July holiday, over 10,000 Americans from all 50 states have signed the "U.S. Declaration of Independence from Hazardous Chemicals," according to World Wildlife Fund-one of the 60 environmental, health, and trade groups that have endorsed the declaration. Spurred by policy reforms underway in Europe, citizens from around the country have demonstrated their support for improved protection from chemical hazards.

"From Anchorage to Atlanta, Albany to Albuquerque, Americans are proclaiming their right to be free from hazardous chemicals that threaten wildlife and people around the world," said Clif Curtis, Director of WWF's Toxics Program. "As we celebrate our country's independence, we are reminded of our duty as U.S. citizens to speak out when governmental policies fail to protect us."

The European Union has requested public comments on the proposed legislation known as REACH, (note 3) which could transform how chemicals are regulated. In short, for some 30,000 chemicals used in Europe, companies must provide data on potential health or environmental hazards, eventually creating a valuable resource for public and private decision making.

REACH would also allow Europe to restrict the use of the most dangerous chemicals. By putting the burden of proof on companies and harmonizing the rules across the EU, REACH will create a huge incentive for developing and using safer alternatives. The "U.S. Declaration of Independence from Hazardous Chemicals" supports the proposed EU reforms and urges the EU Commission to strengthen key elements of the legislation. On behalf of all signatories, WWF has submitted the signed declaration to the European Commission and to President Bush. The U.S. government has been critical of REACH, claiming it could impact U.S. business, but has ignored the potential benefits for innovative industries. "REACH could revolutionize the management of chemicals and is already inspiring action in states and cities across the United States," said Daryl Ditz, Senior Program Officer for WWF's Toxics Program. "While the Bush Administration and chemical industry lobbyists are working behind closed doors to derail this promising European initiative, it is encouraging to know that Americans are strongly in favor of healthier families, safer jobs, and cleaner communities."

1. The "Declaration of Independence from Hazardous Chemicals" is available at: tp://
2. The following organizations have signed the Declaration:
Agricultural Resources Center; Alaska Community Action on Toxics; The Breast Cancer Fund; California Communities Against Toxics; Californians for Alternatives to Toxics; Cape Downwinders; Center for Environmental Health; Center for International Environmental Law; Center for Health Environment and Justice; Citizens' Environmental Coalition; Clean Production Action; Clean Water Action; Clean Water Action Alliance of Massachusetts; Communications Workers of America; Consumers' Healthy Home Center; Delta Institute; Ecology Center; Environmental Defense; Environmental Entrepreneurs; Environmental Health Fund; Environmental Health Network; Environmental Research Foundation; Friends of the Earth-US; Global Community Monitor; GrassRoots Recycling Network; Greater Boston Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life; Great Lakes United; Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility; GreenCAPE; Greenpeace USA; Health Care Without Harm; Hilltown Anti-Herbicide Coalition; Indiana Alliance for Democracy; International Campaign for Responsible Technology; Lawrence Environmental Action Group; Learning Disabilities Association of America; Merrimack Valley Environmental Coalition; National Environmental Trust; Natural Resources Defense Council; Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides; Oregon Toxics Alliance; Our Bodies Ourselves; Our developing world; Our Rights, Our Water-Massachusetts Pesticide Action Network North America; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Public Citizen; Refinery Reform Campaign; Regional Environmental Council; Science and Environmental Health Network; Sierra Club; Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition; Sudbury Earth Decade Committee; Tri-State Environmental Council; United Steelworkers of America; US Public Interest Research Group; Washington Toxics Coalition; Women's Community Cancer Project; Women's Voices for the Earth; Working Group on Community Right to Know; World Wildlife Fund-US

3. REACH stand for the Registration, Evaluation, and uthorization of Chemicals.
This news release and associated material can be found on World Wildlife Fund, known worldwide by its panda logo, leads international efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats and to conserve the diversity of life on Earth. Now in its fourth decade, WWF works in more than 100 countries around the globe.
CONTACT: Tina Skaar, 202-778-9606 or; Kerry Zobor, 202-778-9509 or; both of the World Wildlife Fund LOAD-DATE: July 2, 2003

Last changed: March 14, 2006