CHEMICAL SAFETY AND SECURITY

Background

Across New Jersey, hundreds of facilities use or store hazardous substances capable of harming worker and community health and the environment. A routine accident or a deliberate terrorist attack on one of these facilities could endanger both workers and communities. In some areas, millions of people could be placed at risk. For example, a worst-case toxic release from the potentially most hazardous facility in our state, in Hudson County, could harm an estimated 12 million people in New Jersey and New York City.

WEC's Chemical Safety and Security Program works with labor unions, environmental and community organizations, and public officials to ensure that facilities are safe and secure.

Because of WEC's organizing, coalition-building, and advocacy, New Jersey has the strongest chemical safety and security policies in the nation.

Unfortunately, communities near potentially dangerous facilities remain largely unaware about the potential risks of a toxic release. Plant neighbors have the right to know about routine releases and the potential for a toxic disaster that could affect their families and the environment. Communities should also have the right to address these issues with the companies operating in their hometown. If a toxic release should occur, they need to know what specific steps to take. WEC's Safety and Security First! Campaign is working to protect workers' and communities' right to know and act about potential exposures in their workplaces, communities, and environment.

Moreover, WEC believes that a more comprehensive approach of applying principles of "green chemistry" can greatly reduce the risk of toxic exposures. As the campaign moves forward, WEC will look at how green chemistry policies can benefit New Jersey workers, communitites, and the environment.

Accomplishments

Underlying the successes of WEC's Safety and Security First! campaign is an ongoing grassroots effort engaging labor, community, and environmental organizations that continues to use a variety of tactics. For example, more than 9,000 New Jerseyans signed postcards to Governor Jon Corzine seeking action; more than 100 distinct print, TV, and radio stories featured this campaign.

Publications

Website