First City to Adopt Purchasing Policy Regarding Persistent Pollutants
Earlier this week, the Seattle City Council, with the support of Mayor Greg Nickels, passed a resolution to reduce the purchase and use of persistent bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs), which include pentachorophenol-treated utility poles, by the City of Seattle. The resolution, introduced by City Councilwoman Heidi Wills, instructs the city to purchase products that don't contain persistent chemicals or result in the release of persistent pollution during their manufacture, including products such as non-chlorine-bleached paper, polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-free building materials and office supplies, and non-mercury auto switches. This resolution is the first of its kind in the nation to address the purchase and use of products containing persistent chemicals by a City.
"We are delighted that the City of Seattle is taking this very important step to do its part to protect human health and the environment from persistent pollution," said Brandie Smith, Toxics Campaigner for the Washington Toxics Coalition. "Persistent chemicals like mercury and dioxin have created a toxic legacy around the globe. Seattle is leading by example to show that local governments can take meaningful action to create a healthy future for our children."
In 2000, the Washington State Department of Ecology released a plan to phase out and eliminate a class of chemicals known as persistent bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs), such as PCBs, mercury and dioxin. These chemicals, which build up in the environment and the food chain, have been linked to certain cancers, birth defects and other reproductive problems.
"The City of Seattle has recognized that these chemicals that build up in the food chain and the environment, should be reduced and eliminated where possible," said Pam Johnson, People for Puget Sound. "This resolution shows the city's commitment to walk the talk. We also look forward to working with the City as they lead cleanup efforts of the contaminated Duwamish River, and step up to the challenge of preventing stormwater laden with toxics from entering our waterways."