top of page

Green Purchasing - Potential Health Impacts

Green Procurement policies should consider potential health effects for factory workers, employees and residents – particularly children – resulting from the purchase, use or disposal of the products.


Emerging science continues to expand the list of potentially harmful chemicals in our environment, yet it is often difficult to establish scientific certainty when it comes to human exposures. This has led many communities to adopt the Precautionary Principle when assessing the relative safety or threat posed by products or their ingredients.

The Precautionary Principle states that "when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically."


[1] Nijaki, L. K., & Worrel, G. (2012). Procurement for sustainable local economic development. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 25(2), 133-153.

[2] Committee on Decision Making Under Uncertainty; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Institute of Medicine. (2013). Environmental Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty (Rep.). Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press (US), 1-280.

[3] De Sadeler, N. (2014). Implementing the precautionary principle: Approaches from the Nordic Countries, EU and USA. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Earthscan, 1-432.

[4] Kriebel, D., et al. (2001). The precautionary principle in environmental science. Environmental Health Perspective, 109(9), 871-876.

Medical Doctor looking at files

The State of Maine's Department of Environmental Protection has produced a list of 36 chemicals of "high concern," meaning they should be avoided if possible.  


The Environmental Working Group is an award-winning,  science-based non-profit organization with a mission to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Their extensive website covers a variety of consumer products and exposures. 


Grassroots Environmental Education is a science-based non-profit organization with extensive information on common environmental exposures, their impact on human health and market alternatives that are available. 

bottom of page