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Sierra Club Conservation Policies

Environmentally Hazardous Substances

The Sierra Club recognizes the great threat presented by environmentally hazardous substances. These are substances, dispersed through human activity, which

(a) persist in the environment, become widespread and/or tend to become concentrated in living organisms, and, by their effect on health, reproductive ability or genetic material, or by their effect on environmental processes, present a danger to living organisms including human beings, other than those which are the direct and immediate target of their application, or

(b) combine, act synergistically, or break down in the environment to create substances that meet the above criteria.

The release of any environmentally hazardous substance should be prohibited, unless the environmental benefits clearly outweigh environmental damage. Safety and environmental quality are the primary factors in deciding whether or not to use such a substance. In each case, strict limits to the use of the substance should be established and followed. New or continued application of any material that this suspected to be environmentally hazardous should be stopped immediately pending further investigation.

Adopted by the Board of Directors, December 4-5, 1971; amended July 8, 1995


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