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Chemical Industry Challenged to Repudiate Unethical Members

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families

Today Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families called on American Chemistry Council (ACC) President Cal Dooley to expel three flame retardant manufacturers whose deeply unethical practices were the subject of a four-part Chicago Tribune investigative series, Playing With Fire.

The series documented practices reminiscent of the tobacco industry that three companies, Albemarle, Chemtura and ICL Industries engaged in for years. The revelations included: deliberately misrepresenting the science around flame retardant chemicals relating to both their utility and their health risks; employing an expert witness who repeatedly invoked a phony story of a child dying in a fire to justify flame retardant mandates; and creating a front group to counter the opposition to their products among firefighters and health organizations.

The letter to Cal Dooley from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families (SCHF) Director Andy Igrejas cited the ACC’s longstanding Responsible Care program, a trademarked code of conduct for the industry. The ACC claims that adherence to the code of conduct is mandatory for ACC members. Each of the companies identified in the story are members of ACC and until recently Albemarle’s CEO chaired a board level committee that oversaw chemical safety programs for the ACC. 

Explaining why the letter was sent, Igrejas said: “This is a critical moment for the American Chemistry Council. It cannot duck this story and maintain any credibility. Responsible Care has been central to the chemical industry’s public relations and lobbying efforts for years. If the deeply unethical behavior documented in the Tribune series is considered acceptable under Responsible Care then it is meaningless as a code of conduct. If companies can violate Responsible Care with impunity, than it is also meaningless. Dow, Dupont and the rest of the industry have to declare themselves.”

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