Environmental Pollution

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

On Toxic Substances

Adopted by the CCAR at the 95th Annual Convention of

the Central Conference of American Rabbis

Grossingers, New York, June 18-21, 1984

Judaism understands that the world is God’s creation and that whoever helps to preserve

it is doing God’s work. We who inherit a tradition marked by a reverence for life

must preserve the earth and all its varied life for our own sake and for generations

yet unborn.        

The problem of chemical and radioactive wastes is of comparatively recent origin.

The generation of long-lasting dangerous chemical wastes began about forty years

ago. At that time and for many years afterward, traditional methods of disposal underground, on the land, in the air, in rivers, or in the sea were followed and were considered


In recent years, the dangers of toxic waste disposal, in both the United States and

Canada, have become more and more visible. Some companies and governmental agencies

have tried to dispose of their wastes in ways that would keep them from harming persons or the environment. Others have continued to follow practices that have proved dangerous.

There is a serious difficulty in finding safe locations to store toxic wastes and

ensuring permanently safe disposal.        

In recent years, moreover, improper and unclean combustion of carbon fuels has acidified

the rain to levels toxic to the environment. This acid rain affects every area of

our nation, resulting in more than five billion dollars in damages each year to lakes, rivers, and forests.

Therefore be it resolved

that the Central Conference of American Rabbis:

1. Reaffirm its historic commitment to an environment free from dangers of chemical

and radioactive wastes and pollutants.

2. Recognize that each individual bears responsibility for solving the problems of

toxic waste.

3. Recognize that industry faces a very real problem in finding suitable sites for

toxic wastes.

4. Encourage state and provincial legislative bodies to develop “funds,” similar to

the United States government’s “Superfund,” that will be adequate to locate and clean

up abandoned sites where hazardous chemicals and radioactive wastes have been dumped,

and encourage and support the research and development of safer disposal methods of

toxic waste.

5. Promote legislation by the United States and Canadian governments which will encourage

industry, through such devices as tax credits and small business loans, to clean

up existing disposal sites, to assure safe disposal of toxic wastes in the future,

and to eliminate air-borne pollutants.

6. Support the strict enforcement of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and

the provision of adequate resources to the Environmental Protection Agency and state

agencies to enforce it in order that toxic wastes disposed of in the present and

future are disposed of safely and securely.

7. Support efforts of the United States and Canadian governments and their regulatory

agencies to pursue vigorously those who misuse waste dumps and burn fuels improperly,

and to demand compensation for damage that has already been done to persons and property due to unsafe disposal.

8. Encourage industry to examine its waste production processes and the recycling

of toxic wastes in order to use them efficiently and to keep chemical and radioactive

wastes that must be disposed of to the minimum amount.

9. Encourage the development and use of non-hazardous substitutes for materials and

processes that currently generate hazardous wastes, as well as call for tightening

of regulations to prohibit the introduction of toxic chemicals such as Dioxin into

the environment.

10. Support efforts for international consideration and regulation of toxic waste

disposal and clean-air standards, and the prohibition of toxic waste exportation

to other countries.

11. Call for legislation requiring strict testing of pesticides and the regulation

of both the export of pesticides banned in the United States and Canada, and the

import of foodstuffs grown with the use of such banned material.