Another reason for a health-first approach

For those in the know, Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 12.03.50 PMit’s old news that Precision Castparts has a decade-old history of violating laws with air and water pollution. But that’s part of the problem: not everyone is in the know.

This story makes it clear: Oregon must commit to strong leadership that makes the health of our communities top priority.

That means not only enforcing anti-pollution laws, but also seeking stronger solutions when those laws fail to protect our communities.

It means not only digging deep to uncover threats to our health, but also keeping communities informed about risks and involved in decision-making over solutions.

It means not only fining businesses when they pollute, but building incentives for businesses to stop pollution before it starts with less-toxic products and processes.

Oregon needs leaders who put the health of our communities as their first measure of success. And there’s no time like the present: let’s appoint a new director to the Department of Environmental Quality with the strength and know-how to put health first.

P.S. If you care about clean water, you recognize the same industry regulations need to be in place for clean air. Sign our pledge to put health first in air quality regulations.


Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Policy Climate Protection Toxics-Free Environments Media/PR/Statements Toxic Free Priorities Environmental Health Eco-Healthy Homes
Sort by
A farmworker carries berries in a field

The Right to Refuse Dangerous Work: Another Victory for Worker Safety in a Warming Climate

Oregon has taken resolute action in protecting workers from dangerous conditions caused by the worsening climate crisis. On June 7, 2023, Governor Tina Kotek signed into law Senate Bill 907, the Right to Refuse Dangerous Work. This law builds a past victory for worker safety achieved by the OEC and coalition partners in implementing permanent heat and smoke rules, fortifying our state’s commitment to shielding workers from the dangers of an increasingly volatile  cl
June 27, 2023, 2:32 pm


Huge Wins for Public Health! Oregon Lawmakers Act to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Cosmetics and Kids’ Products

In a resounding victory for the health and well-being of Oregonians, Oregon Environmental Council and coalition partners successfully advocated for the passage of two crucial environmental health bills in the 2023 legislative session.  Despite facing staunch opposition from the chemical industry, our coalition’s unwavering commitment and tenacity paid off, as we se
June 27, 2023, 2:46 pm


Oregon Health Authority Report Finds Devastating Public Health Impacts from Climate Change in Oregon, Underscoring Urgent Need for Legislative Action to Pass the Climate Resilience Package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 22, 2023 Media Contact Kat Driessen, PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority today released a comprehensive report on the public health impacts of climate change in Oregon. The “2021-2022 Climate and Health in Oregon Rep
June 22, 2023, 11:00 am


Childrens’ Health Bill Endangered by Senate Walkout

Oregon is ready to do more to protect children from dangerous chemicals. The Senate walkout threatens the passage of HB 3043 – the Toxic Free Kids Modernization Act – a bill that has gained bipartisan support.  What’s at stake: Thousands of chemicals lurk in products and toys our kids encounter every day, and children are far more vulnerable to toxics than adults. The health impacts from exposure to these chemicals in produc
June 2, 2023, 11:45 am



For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 25, 2023 Contact: Jana Gastellum,, (360) 618-2722 SALEM, Ore.– Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) called on State Senators who have walked out of the Capitol to return to work and vote on critical environmental legislation.
May 25, 2023, 11:26 am


PRESS RELEASE: Lawmakers and Environmental Health Advocates Call for the Passage of a Suite of Toxics Bills During National Public Health Week

#gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */
April 4, 2023, 9:33 pm


Three kids playing in a sandbox

It’s National Public Health Week. Let’s tackle toxic chemicals!

This post was co-authored by Lisa Arkin, Executive Director, Beyond Toxics It’s National Public Health Week. Let’s tackle toxic chemicals! Every child deserves a safe environment to grow in that allows them to become strong and healthy and develop to their full potential. During National Public Health Week, it’s important to draw attention to the health
April 4, 2023, 8:47 pm


Prioritizing Children’s Health in Kid’s Products

Toxic chemicals that harm health should not be in our kids’ products. But they are. Thousands of chemicals lurk in products our kids use every day and children are far more vulnerable to toxics than adults due to their smaller size and developing organs. Even worse, the most recent studies show that new chemical compounds are produced at a rate
December 20, 2022, 7:59 pm


Eco-Healthy Homes: safer children’s spaces at Hacienda CDC

Many people these days are familiar with the fact that products for the home, from toys to cleaning products, can contain toxic chemicals. This fact alone is cause for concern. But, did you know that women, children, people of color and people living on lower incomes are at a greater risk of toxic chemical exposure?  Or that access to consumer safety information may not be available to non-english speakers? Or that, because of their small size, kids
July 14, 2022, 10:47 pm


2 Replies to "Another reason for a health-first approach"

  • Ray Kinney
    April 21, 2016 (2:36 pm)

    Do not forget the role played by the state legislators, in setting the whole anti-investigatory attitude of state agencies for the regulatory actions, or inactions, toward emerging needs for accurate scientific unbiased assessment by the agencies. This information constitutes the eyes and ears of public health status and trends to protect all citizens and visitors to the state, a VERY important job. The agencies cannot do due diligence in providing good accurate unbiased data for this essential function, because legislative politics dictates what the legislature will allow, or will not allow, the agencies to do. Any department program needs funding to continue, legislators control that funding. If the agency displeases legislators while doing their job, they have to live in fear of punitive funding cuts to other good work that they are doing. Agencies do not have the backing from the state legislators to accomplish their essential job of contaminant pollution sampling, analysis, and unbiased assessment. This puts strong pressure on the agencies to bias the results toward never showing an emerging public health problem in time for prudent corrective decision-making and actions for public health protections. To justify their jobs, agencies are forced to do ‘busy-work’ non-essential environmental ‘assessment’ that has little chance of discovering any potential problem. This pervasive institutional biased approach to information-gathering corrupts the state ability to properly inform the public health system, and at times, leads to outright falsification of results to avoid legislative displeasure. This type of institutional state irresponsibility is done in every state to varying degrees… but makes a mockery of regulations such as the Clean Water act and the Clean Drinking Water Act, harming the ability of public health protections with subsequent massive expenses seen with the Flint public health crisis, the Portland Oregon air and drinking water pollution problems, and similar degradations elsewhere. The problem is exacerbated by the federal agencies being stymied from doing the jobs we hire them to do by the same irresponsible biases placed on them by Congress. The public loses, the political lobbies for industrial pollution gain, and the politicians gain election funding. The system is broken by shortcomings of legislator character. What were the voting decisions of the legislators, that set up this system to fail? Who votes against the ability of the agencies to do the jobs that we hire them to do for public health protection?

    • admin
      April 21, 2016 (4:50 pm)

      Thanks for that important perspective. OEC agrees that holding legislators responsible and ensuring adequate funding for agencies is an essential piece of the puzzle.