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The Louisville Charter is a roadmap to fundamentally transform the chemical industry.


HISTORY: In the area of Louisville, Kentucky, known as “Rubbertown,” 11 industrial facilities have historically released millions of pounds per year of toxic air emissions. The surrounding community is predominantly Black. In May 2004, Louisville organizers convened a broad coalition of grassroots, labor, health and environmental justice groups whose common goal was to pass government policies that protect human health and the environment from exposure to unnecessary harmful chemicals. This initiated a year-long collaborative process to create the original Louisville Charter For Safer Chemicals, which served as a shared platform for change. 

NOW IN 2021, our network has grown, and we've continued to clarify our vision. The charter has been updated to more explicitly confront the chemical industry's massive contribution to the climate crisis and provide principled guidance for advancing environmental justice in communities disproportionately impacted by harmful and cumulative chemical exposure, while avoiding false solutions. The updated Louisville Charter has been endorsed by over 100 organizations representing environmental justice and grassroots communities, environmental and health nonprofits, and leaders in the medical, public health, business, science and research communities. It is meant to serve as a shared roadmap for transforming the chemical industry so that it is no longer a source of greenhouse gas emissions and toxic harm.


The 10 planks of the Louisville Charter for Safer Chemicals 


The Louisville Charter consists of an introductory vision statement, core principles and policy recommendations, and 10 platform “planks” that, when adopted collectively, will achieve the vision of a safe and sustainable chemical industry that does not harm people, the environment, or the climate. These 10 planks are:

1. Address the Significant Impacts of Chemical Production and Use on Climate Change, including the significant reduction or elimination of fossil fuels and other greenhouse gases in every part of the chemical production process, from plastic creation to the production of fluorinated gases that on their own exacerbate climate change.

2. Prevent Disproportionate Exposures and Hazards, and Reduce Cumulative Impacts on Environmental Justice Communities, including communities of color, Tribes and Native/Indigenous communities, and low-income communities that experience multiple pollutants from multiple sources and accumulation over time.  

3. Require Safer Substitutes and Solutions for a Non-Toxic Economy​ by: redesigning chemical products and systems; altering production processes; substituting with safer chemicals; limiting output to produce chemicals shown to be safe throughout their lifecycle; and rewarding innovation. 

4. Use Scientific Data to Support Health-Protective Policies and Practices, including addressing chemical classes, rather than one chemical at a time, when possible.

5. Take Urgent Action to Stop Production and Recover Chemicals that are Unsafe and/or Accumulate in the Environment and People, including phasing out, banning and recovering chemicals that present immediate threats to safety due to flammability or potential to explode; do not break down or are slow to degrade (persistent); accumulate in people and the food chain (bioaccumulative); are highly mobile in the environment and threaten drinking water supplies; and/or contribute to climate change. 

6. Act with Foresight to Protect Health and Prevent Pollution​ when credible evidence shows that a substance or class of substances is potentially hazardous and/or harm is occurring or is likely to occur, even when information is incomplete, in order to safeguard communities, workers, consumers, and others from exposure.

7. Take Immediate Action to Protect, Restore and Strengthen Communities​ when there has been exposure to levels of chemicals that pose an immediate health or safety hazard. 

8. Ensure the Public and Workers Fully Have the Right-To-Know, Participate and Decide​ in the decisions that impact their health because of the potential harm from toxic chemicals. ​

9. Incentivize Responsible Business & Safer Chemicals​, including curtailing subsidies for companies that continue to pollute and produce chemicals that are harmful to human health and the environment.

10. Build an Equitable and Health-Based Sustainable Economy that transitions us from prioritizing short-term profit at all costs to valuing safety, health and equity.


REad the Full Charter  

  Download the Charter 

The Louisville Charter has been endorsed by over 125 national and local organizations. Join our movement!


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Agri-Cultura Cooperative Network

Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

American Sustainable Business Network

As You Sow 

Backbone Campaign

Beyond Pesticides 

Beyond Toxics 

Black Women For Wellness 

Breast Cancer  Prevention Partners

California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation

California Safe Schools

Californians for Pesticide Reform

Campaign for Healthier Solutions

Campaign for Lead Free Water

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for  Environmental Health

Center for Environmental Policy and Management, University of Louisville

Center for Farmworker Families

Center for Food Safety

Center for Health, Environment & Justice 

Center for International Environmental Law

Center for Progressive Reform

Children's Environmental Health Network

Clean and Healthy New York

Clean Power Lake County

Clean Production Action

Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund


Collaborative on Health and the Environment

Coming Clean 

Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center

Community Action Works

Concerned Residents  of Wagon Mound and Mora County

Defend Our Health

Delaware Concerned Residents for Environmental Justice

Dr. Yolanda Whyte Pediatrics


Ecojustice Canada

Ecology Center

Environmental Data & Governance Initiative

Environmental & Public Health Consulting

Environmental Community Action-ECO-Action

Environmental Justice Health Alliance 

Epidemic Answers 

Family Farm Defenders

Farmworker Association   of Florida

Farmworker Justice 

Friends of the Earth US 

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives

Global Center for Climate Justice

Green America 

Green Inside and Out, Inc.

Green Science Policy Institute

Greenpeace US 


Harambee House, Inc.


Health Care Without Harm

Health Professionals for   a Healthy Climate

Healthy Babies Bright Futures

Healthy Schools Network 

Informed Green Solutions, Inc. 

International Center for Technology Assessment

International Living Future Institute

International Pollutants Elimination Network

Investor Advocates for Social Justice

Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society

Jefferson County Vision 

Just Transition Alliance 

Karen Bowman & Associates, Inc.

Law Office of Dona Marie Hippert

Learning Disabilities Association of Alabama

Learning Disabilities Association of America

Learning Disabilities Association of Connecticut

Learning Disabilities Association of Delaware

Learning Disabilities Association of Georgia

Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois

Learning Disabilities Association of Maine

Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan

Learning Disabilities Association of South Carolina

Learning Disabilities Association of Texas

Learning Disabilities Association of Utah

Learning Disabilities Association of Virginia

Learning Disabilities Association of Wisconsin

Lincoln Sarnoff Consulting

Los Jardines Institute

Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, UMass Lowell

Material Research L3C

Migrant Clinicians Network

Mind the Store

Moms Across America

Moms Clean Air Force

National Family Farm Coalition

Natural Resources Defense Council 

North American Marine Alliance

Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides

Odessa Films, Inc.

Organización en California de Lideres Campesinas, Inc.

Partners in Healthy Communities

People Concerned About Chemical Safety

Pesticide Action Network

Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles


REACT- Rubbertown Emergency ACTion

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

Safer States 

Science and Environmental Health Network

Shaw Institute

Sierra Club

Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke

Sprout Consulting

Texas Campaign for the Environment

Torrance Refinery Action Alliance

Toxic Free NC

Toxic Free Future

Union of Concerned Scientists

Until Justice Data Partners, Inc.

Vermont Public Interest Research Group

Web of Life Products

Western Broome Environmental Stakeholders Coalition

Women's Voices for the Earth

Zero Waste Washington