Guiding Principles

The Toxics & Health team strives to reduce the impacts of harmful chemicals on San Franciscans and our environment using the principles below:

Precautionary Principle

The first guiding principle is the Precautionary Principle. San Francisco was the first city to adopt the Precautionary Principle, which is now the first chapter of San Francisco’s Environment Code. The Precautionary Principle authorizes the City to take action by way of outreach and programs when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, even if cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

Green Chemistry

The second guiding principle is Green Chemistry. There are over 100,000 chemicals approved for use in commerce today, but fewer than 10 percent of them have complete human health and environmental impacts information. In addition, the cumulative impacts caused by exposure to multiple chemicals are unknown. Green Chemistry includes design principles that chemists can use to design safer products.  California is in the process of adopting Safer Consumer Products regulations that govern how and which chemicals can be introduced and used in products, including household products, sold in California.

Extended Producer Responsiblity (EPR)

The third guiding principle is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). EPR requires that manufacturers be responsible for a product and its packaging after a consumer has used the product.  This includes shifting financial and management responsibility away from government and providing incentives to producers of products to incorporate environmental considerations into the design of their products and packaging.