About The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow Coalition

The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (AHT) is a coalition of citizens, scientists, health professionals, workers, and educators seeking preventive action on toxic hazards. Unfortunately, current environment and health policies do not protect us. Our individual rights and our quality of life are threatened by harmful pollution and products. Our goal is to correct fundamental flaws in government policies that allow harm to our health and environment.

The result of these current policies is that toxic substances end up in our bodies without our knowledge or consent. We have seen that ignoring early warning signs can result in serious illness. The tragic histories of lead and mercury, for example, demonstrate the harm caused when government and industry do not take action to protect public health. We have also seen that acting on early warnings can prevent widespread harm, as in the case of the drug thalidomide.

We will create proactive policies to prevent harm before the damage is done, and to choose the safest alternatives. These policies will be based on the Core Values of the AHT :

A Plan for a Healthy Tomorrow
AHT has a Plan for a Healthy Tomorrow based on our beliefs that protection of our health must become the first priority of government policy and that that each of us has a right to an environment that sustains health and life, not one that harms it.

The structure of the Alliance includes:

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Core Values of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow

Choice, Progress & Innovation
We understand that the world cannot be "risk-free," but we know that there are safer alternatives to many toxic technologies and products in use today. Industrial progress has brought us many advantages, but we can go further and create progress toward a healthier environment.

We want to create better choices. The use of the preventative approach that we propose will spark a search for better materials, safer products, and alternative processes, and will thus foster innovation. The approach is aimed at preventing harm, not progress. It should be used proactively to help reach social goals and make progress toward a healthier tomorrow. If we work together to set our goals, it is possible to say "no" to the things that don't fit those goals, and "yes" to the things that do.

Rigorous Science
Science is central to this approach—it will require the use of more rigorous, interdisciplinary science to examine complex living systems and establish an "early warning system" to identify potential hazards. Scientists need to be more explicit about what is known and not known and develop advanced methods to analyze alternatives.

Responsibility
We all have the responsibility to look at what we do and strive to make sure that our actions do not harm others or our shared environment. Businesses and consumers must seek out the safest alternatives to meet human needs.

Democracy
A democracy is based on open and informed decision-making processes that put public goals and values above private gain. We call for government to establish democratic decision-making processes to choose the safest alternatives. These processes must be insulated from special interest interference. In an uncertain world, politicians, corporations and scientists should not be making all the decisions about what risks are acceptable to society, a community or a child.

Precautionary Action & Foresight
The approach advocated by the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow is called the "Precautionary Principle" by many advocates. It is being implemented in other countries and cited in international environmental treaties. Rather than asking how much damage to a baby is acceptable, or how much pollution can be assimilated by an ocean or a forest, a precautionary approach asks how much can be avoided. It's preventive medicine for the environment—and by extension, for humans. It tells us to prevent pollution and poisoning, rather than trying to clean up the mess afterward.

Plan for a Healthy Tomorrow

Protection of health must be the first priority of government agencies. The government should be pro-active to prevent harm before it occurs.

We must:

Act on Early Warnings
The government has a duty to act to prevent harm when there is credible evidence that harm is occurring or is likely to occur—even when the exact nature and magnitude of the harm is not proven.

Choose and Create the Safest Alternatives
Government decision-making processes must evaluate a full range of alternatives, and must require the safest feasible alternative. Government should support innovation and promote technologies, materials and solutions that create a healthier environment. We must protect and involve impacted workers and communities during the transition to the safest alternatives.

Not Assume Safety
Manufacturers have a responsibility to show that they are using the safest alternative to meet a specific need. The potential for harm should be thoroughly studied before a new chemical or technology is used, rather than assuming it is harmless until proven otherwise. Research on the impacts of chemicals and technologies should be conducted or verified by independent third parties.

Base Decisions on Science & Democracy
Government decisions should be based on independent scientific information and meaningful citizen participation. They must place a higher priority on protecting health and the environment than on the economic interests of a particular industry. The decision-making process should represent public values, protect the rights of potential victims, and be insulated from interference by narrow, special interests.