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 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
on March 26th 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
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.
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