Mayor Newsom Signs Groundbreaking Environmental Bill into Law

(June 17, 2005)

Legislation ensures City government avoids use of toxic products

San Francisco – Mayor Gavin Newsom joined by Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and other local environmental leaders, today signed innovative environmental legislation into law to ensure the use of safe and health conscious products in San Francisco. This legislation, called the "Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance," phases out the use of toxic products by city government including certain types of paint, cleaning solutions and plant fertilizers. The law will decrease public health risks associated with these products by utilizing safer alternatives.

"The need to move to safer alternatives from toxic products is essential if we are committed to having a healthy environment," noted Mayor Newsom. "Today we are taking action to safeguard public health by making certain the city uses these safe and healthy alternatives," continued the Mayor. Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who authored the bill, explained its intent. "The city spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year buying goods and services," Maxwell explained. "By exercising our economic power, San Francisco can encourage market development of new products which are healthier and more environmentally friendly."

This Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance combats the increased use of toxic chemicals that have been attributed to rising asthma and cancer rates, and the increased occurrences of learning disabilities and autism. The ordinance will result in the alternative use of safer janitorial products in city buildings and on streets. It will phase out the use of toxic pesticides in parks and buildings, and will replace CCA-wood structures – which can release arsenic – in children's playgrounds.

San Francisco is the first city in the country to adopt an ordinance of this kind. Groups participating in the legislative signing event included Breast Cancer Action, Center for Environmental Health, Clean Water Action, Commonweal, Healthy Building Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Urban Habitat, SEHN, Redefining Progress, Healthy Children Organizing Project, Clear Water Fund, Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, The Breast Cancer Fund, and Women's Cancer Resource Center.



Mayor's Office of Communication

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Department of the Environment

City and County of San Francisco

11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: (415) 355-3700 • Fax: (415) 554-6393

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