The Alliance For A Clean Environment
Deceptive and Misleading Industry Allegations
How do corporations deliver dangerous junk science?
Read Toxic Deception, particularly the chapter called
Examples of Dangerous Industry Deception about Dioxin and DEHP
Industry Allegation: Dioxin levels have been declining in industrialized nations for years, while vinyl production has increased. Therefore, PVC can’t be responsible.
Response: The decline in dioxin emissions appears to be associated with decreased emissions from large-scale combustion systems. Combustion of materials containing chlorinated organics (like PVC) is the primary source of dioxin to the environment. This indicates that reducing sources such as uncontrolled incinerators can result in a decrease in dioxin generation and release.
Industry Allegation: A landmark study by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers found no relationship between chlorine content and dioxin emissions (this is often call the Rigo Report).
Response: The study of chlorine’s relationship to dioxin output in waste incineration was conducted by Gregory Rigo, who was contracted to write the report by the Vinyl Institute.
Industry Allegation: PVC is the only material suited to medical uses.
Response: Many alternatives to PVC are superior in quality and performance. PVC may in fact be ill suited to medical uses because of the amount of additives necessary to give it desirable characteristics. Alternatives are widely used in the U.S. and Europe.
Industry Allegation: Vinyl plants are insignificant sources of dioxin.
Response: Show us the studies to prove that statement. We want to know who paid for them and who did them. Where is the data from the lab to prove that statement about Occidental in Pottstown? Where is your peer-reviewed science? There is very little hard data because industry won’t test for dioxin, and EPA does not require it. We will not accept data based on calculations using self-reported industry data. According to other sources:
To establish exact or true levels of dioxin released from any Vinyl or PVC plant, like Occidental, SITE-SPECIFIC DIOXIN TESTING would have to be done TO MEASURE ALL DIOXIN WASTE STREAMS from each facility. This must include: Air Emissions, Waste Water, Sludge Residue, and Residuals from Processing Batch.
Industry Allegation: The Chlorine Chemistry Council funded a report, which says that chlorine levels in feed are not the dominant controlling factor for rates of dioxin stack emissions for commercial scale incinerators.
Response: EPA has completely changed its position on the relationship between chlorine input and dioxin output based on this report by the Chlorine Chemistry Council, while ignoring the papers cited in their own 1994 report that did show a positive relationship between chlorine input and dioxin emissions. EPA ignored work by Pat Costner of Greenpeace that clearly showed that the data in both reports that EPA cites did not support the authors’ conclusions. All of the data needs to be used and all of the data does not support the agency’s conclusions. This suggests undue influence on EPA’s decisions by the Chlorine Chemistry Council.
Industry Allegation: A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official is quoted saying that PVC products are safe.
Response: The FDA requires labeling of some products, which leach DEHP, although that labeling is not consistent.
Industry Allegation: A blue-ribbon scientific panel chaired by C. Everett Koop found that “DEHP, as used in medical devices, is not harmful to humans even under chronic or higher-than-average conditions of exposure.”
Response: This report was prepared under the auspices of the American Council on Science and Health. The ACSH is an industry-funded organization, which has a long history of taking industry-slanted positions on issues related to public health.
[ For instance, ACSH has defended the toxic pesticide DDT, which has been banned in the U.S. for many years.]
Industry Allegation: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found that DEHP was “not classified as a carcinogen.”
[Background: DEHP is the plasticizer added to PVC medical products to make them flexible. Large quantities of DEHP are used in medical products, which can leach into patients during treatment.]
Response: DEHP has not been given a clean bill of health. The re-designation only suggests there is not adequate evidence to conclude that there is a cancer risk from exposure to DEHP. IARC has not looked at other harmful human health effects from DEHP.
Industry Allegation: There is simply no evidence that DEHP causes reproductive effects in humans.
Response: The Vinyl Institute is very deceptive in this allegation. The standard to access hazards to humans from exposure to toxic compounds is carefully controlled animal laboratory studies. There is ample evidence in animals that DEHP poses a risk to humans, particularly to developing fetuses and children. Since it is unethical to experiment on humans, controlled studies, which provide definitive results are not possible. That is the only reason there is no evidence about reproductive effects of DEHP. Research has not been done on humans, but this does not mean DEHP does not cause these harmful health effects in humans. DEHP produces a spectrum of toxic effects in laboratory animals, including rodents and primates, in multiple organ systems including the liver, reproductive tract, kidneys, lungs and heart.
Industry Allegation: A 1996 study, the most comprehensive to date, found no increased risk of cancer.
Response: Cancer is not the endpoint of greatest concern with DEHP. See response above.
Industry Allegation: The material has been used safely, with no evidence of harm to any patient, for more than 40 years.
Response: Lack of evidence of health damage in humans does not mean that there is evidence that DEHP is safe.
Industry Allegation: Moving away from DEHP could actually pose hazards to people.
Response: The Vinyl Institute letter is not explicit about the hazards posed to people by moving away from PVC medical devices. Where is the peer-reviewed science to back up their statement? There is evidence to the contrary.
| donate online | contents | contact us | join | contact web master |