Seattle, WA Plan Reduction of Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals

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Seattle, WA, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 7/1/02

Vote: Unanimous

Source File:


Resolution Number: 30487
A Resolution relating to persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals (PBTs), stating the City of Seattle's intent to reduce its use of PBTs, and setting forth a work program. (PBTs).

WHEREAS, a group of pollutants known as Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic chemicals (PBTs) are toxic, persist in the environment and build up in the food chain, and can pose risks to public health and the environment; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Ecology is developing a list of priority PBTs that includes chemicals that Ecology believes require greater attention because of their persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity characteristics; and

WHEREAS, phasing out the use, production and release of PBTs is important to protecting environmental and public health because once these chemicals are produced, it is difficult and costly to manage, destroy or degrade them; and

WHEREAS, respected expert associations and agencies including the American Public Health Association, the United Nations Environment Program, the Chicago Medical Society and the International Joint Commission of the U.S. and Canadian governments, have agreed upon the benefits of reducing certain PBT pollution in the environment; and

WHEREAS, the Washington State Department of Ecology is pursuing a plan to reduce and eliminate PBTs in the state, including mercury, dioxin and PCBs; and

WHEREAS, the City has, in recent years, established a strong policy framework to guide the City's actions and investments toward environmental stewardship and sustainability, including:

  • Ordinance 120121, which created the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE), which established OSE's role in integrating sustainability and environmental values into all City plans, policies, and programs, and directed OSE to present its work plan to the City Council; and
  • The 2002 Earth Day Resolution that reaffirmed the City's commitment to continuous improvement in environmental management by the City, as a means to reduce the potential human health and environmental risks associated with City operations; and
  • Resolution 29949 that adopted new approaches and policies for purchasing processes directs the City to balance competing goals including social, economic, and environmental values; and
  • The City's Proclamation on Puget Sound orca whales that identifies the reduction and elimination of the use of toxic substances- by governments, corporations and families- as a critical necessity for protection of the species; and

WHEREAS, potential adverse environmental and health effects from PBTs may be reduced through purchasing decisions that reduce or eliminate products that result in the creation or release of PBTs; and alternative, less toxic options exist for many products,


Section 1.
The City of Seattle considers persistent pollution prevention a high priority for action to reduce risk to public and environmental health, and intends by this resolution to encourage the reduction of pollution from PBTs.

Section 2.
The City of Seattle will consider the presence of PBTs and the potential for their release in making purchasing decisions by:

a) Developing and applying criteria that differentiate products containing PBTs and those that result in the release of PBTs during production or disposal from those that do not; and

b) Developing an implementation plan with reduction targets by October 2002 for considering these criteria along with other environmental, social, and economic factors when purchasing products in city departments, offices and agencies in order to reduce pollution from PBTs. Items to be considered in the development of the implementation plan will be determined by identifying and analyzing City uses of products containing chemicals identified on the Department of Ecology PBT priority list or products that result in the generation of such PBTs during their manufacture, including but not limited to, paper, penta-treated wood, mercury switches in fleet vehicles, and PVC building materials and office supplies. Implementation plan actions will be prioritized based on reduction opportunity potential, technical feasibility, economic feasibility, and protection of human health and the environment. As a general rule, the use of an alternative product should be considered economically feasible if its cost, including cost of application, is within 110% of the full costs of the product of concern. In assessing economic feasibility, long-term public health and environmental implications should be considered, as well as the opportunity to stimulate the development of alternatives. By encouraging the development of new products, the City's purchasing policies may help encourage market transformation and drive costs down below the 110% threshold.