Environmental Defense Rebukes American Chemistry Council

March 27, 2001

Responding to nationally televised claims by the American Chemistry Council that its products have been “carefully scrutinized” for safety, Environmental Defense executive director Fred Krupp today asked the chemical industry’s top official to prove it or publicly back down.

Krupp reminded Fred Webber, head of the industry association previously known as the Chemical Manufacturers Association, that Webber himself had spoken up for the urgent need to test industrial chemicals, after his own group’s exhaustive study confirmed that less than 10% of top-selling U.S. chemicals could show even preliminary test results in the public record.

The documentary “Trade Secrets” by journalist Bill Moyers, which aired last night on public television, was immediately followed by an on-camera discussion including American Chemistry Council spokesman Terry Yosie. Yosie insisted to Moyers that the public could rely on chemicals having been tested.

In fact, Krupp wrote to Webber, “what brought the American Chemistry Council to sit down with environmentalists was exactly the opposite: joint recognition that most of the industry’s top-selling chemicals have not been tested,” and a sense of urgency about starting to fill “the enormous gap of ignorance about chemical hazards.”

Krupp called on Webber to produce test results for the 9,000 chemical products his spokesman had referred to on Moyers’ program, or “issue a public retraction and admission” that Yosie had misled the public.