Groundbreaking local law establishes a safe and sustainable procurement policy
Suffolk to Go Green - March 8, 2007 (more)
Hauppauge, New York – March 7, 2007 - Suffolk County, in a unanimous decision, adopted a groundbreaking local law to establish a safe and sustainable procurement policy. This commitment by Suffolk County will help promote the use of products that are safer and cleaner for workers and our community at large. Using environmentally preferred products is an important step toward reducing the chemical burdens we are exposed to every day. Chronic diseases of environmental origins have plagued our society for decades. We are increasingly aware that our families, especially our children, are exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals in the environment. By choosing products that contain less toxic ingredients the County is encouraging a "chemical consciousness." Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and Legislators Edward Romaine and Steven Stern worked together to craft policy that will have a positive impact on our health and environment. In addition, this effort will contribute to Long Island’s economic growth. This new law will significantly reduce the use and release of substances with known human and environmental health impact, making Long Island a safer place to live and work.
Adults and children alike are exposed to hundreds of chemicals that can have serious human health effects. Many of these substances are commonly found in our bodies, where they may effect our development and maturation. By choosing products that contain fewer toxic ingredients Suffolk County is increasing public awareness about the impact of these substances on the health of our families and our children.
Purchasing products that are safe will encourage product innovation. New markets will open up. The targeted commodities, services and/or technologies that are covered in this legislation are: paper products, landscaping products and services, automotive fleet maintenance products and services, and paint and coating products and services. Human carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and radioactive substances are among the toxic materials prioritized for safer substitution under this legislation.
The need for more environmental research and pollution prevention reforms was clearly defined in 1948 by Wilhelm Hueper, a senior scientist with the National Institutes of Health. Hueper stated that; “Environmental carcinogenesis is the newest and one of the most ominous of the end-products of our industrial environment. Though its full scope and extent are still unknown, because it is so new and because the facts are so extremely difficult to obtain, enough is known to make it obvious that extrinsic carcinogens present a very immediate and pressing problem in public and individual health. It should become one of the most urgent tasks of all medical men, public health officials, labor and management leaders and members of legislatures, to become familiar with the problems of environmental cancer. They must all work together to combat its causes at the source, before the dread disease spreads to more and more of our people.”
Environmental consultant Cameron Lory comments “I applaud Suffolk County for taking the lead in protecting the health of the local community. Suffolk has done an excellent job in defining the issue and moving to reduce their use of highly toxic substances. Suffolk has become an early participant in the movement towards an economy that does not sacrifice human and environmental health”
Kathy Curtis, Policy Director for Clean New York, urged other counties and the state of New York to display similar leadership by using their considerable purchasing power to shift markets toward safer, more sustainable procurement practices. “After all,” noted Curtis, “tax dollars should not be spent on toxic products. And the benefit can be more widely felt, in that bulk procurement achieves an economy of scale that drives costs down overall, making these products more widely available and affordable to the rest of us.”
"With the passage of the green procurement bill, Suffolk County is demonstrating responsible leadership, as this noble effort will undoubtedly protect public health and our environment currently at risk," stated Laura Weinberg, Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition.
“Suffolk County is one of the first jurisdictions to adopt a safe and sustainable procurement policy. Joining the city’s of San Francisco, New York and Seattle as well as the states of Massachusetts and Washington, Suffolk County has taken a leading role adopting this pollution prevention policy. I applaud the commitment of our Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, Legislators Romaine and Stern for working together for the common good and taking the lead in going green, says Karen Joy Miller, Prevention Is The Cure.”