Texas consumer group urges more science in advocacy campaigns

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: April 17, 2014 1:35 pm ET
Updated: April 17, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy

WASHINGTON—The Texas Consumer Association (TCA) is raising concerns about consumer advocacy campaigns against certain chemicals and plastic products, saying such efforts are short-sighted and not based on science. 

In a new report, Assessing Consumer Product Safety: How Science Can Be Sidelined in Product Formulations, the TCA looks at three case studies highlighting campaigns against bisphenol A, phthalates, and parabens, detailing the growing rift between what peer-reviewed science says is safe and the messages from campaigns targeting them. The study calls on federal regulators, interest groups and consumers themselves to base decisions about chemicals and products on science and not scare tactics and hearsay. 

“Our research shows that there is a growing gap between what chemicals scientists and government agencies say are safe versus what’s in headlines. Consumers today are more attentive than ever, but it can still be difficult to separate fact from fiction,” said TCA President Sandra Haverlah. “When small but vocal groups are able to effectively take the wheel and trump scientific analysis, it introduces the potential for real harm for consumers.”

Manufacturers can find themselves trapped between a rock and a hard place, the report and Haverlah noted, having to choose between using a chemical being lambasted in the media but considered safe by scientists and regulators versus an untested, potentially harmful alternative that would not be subject to consumer avoidance.

Polycarbonate ingredient BPA “paints a very strong picture of this problem,” Haverlah said on a call with reporters. There has been conflicting information “which has resulted in a war that is counterproductive for consumers.” 

“Consumer perceptions and buying habits are known to be significantly shaped by headlines from activist organizations, regardless of their legitimacy. Despite approval from the FDA, manufacturers continue to weigh the value of voluntarily deselecting BPA for alternative compounds, not based on health concerns, but instead on the financial effect,” the TCA report says. 

Haverlah said the report was sparked not by a Texas-specific problem but what she and the TCA see as a nation-wide epidemic of decisions being “based on scary headlines alone.” In a year where Congress seems to be edging closer to a new federal chemical regulation law, the report also calls on federal regulators to base decisions on science rather than interest group “noise.“ 

“Advocating for the replacement of a certain chemical based solely on fear opens the door to alternative substances that may pose an even greater risk. Even very similar chemicals are not created equal, and often little is known about the effects a replacement might have in every application under every condition,” the TCA study concludes. “Instituting quick replacements in response to unscientific outcry spells needless uncertainty and potential danger for the public.”


Comments

Texas consumer group urges more science in advocacy campaigns

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: April 17, 2014 1:35 pm ET
Updated: April 17, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Composite bridge maker also leading the way in installation

August 22, 2014 1:21 pm ET

Lightweight, low maintenance and strong, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge decks finally are crossing the line from specialty projects to wider...    More

Image

Investment firm specializes in emerging polymer firms in Ohio

August 21, 2014 3:20 pm ET

A plastics market veteran is working with an investment firm and a research foundation to help commercialize polymer technology in the Buckeye State.    More

Image

Non-recyclable items gumming up the works at recycling centers

August 21, 2014 3:46 pm ET

The influx of all sorts of unacceptable items at recycling centers has gotten to the point that Charlotte, N.C.-based ReCommunity is trying to bring...    More

Image

Small country introducing plastic coins

August 20, 2014 10:48 am ET

You've heard of countries adopting plastic currency, to replace paper money. How about plastic coins, to replace metal? It's hard to believe but true....    More

Image

GameDay Challenge expands the competition to the recycling bin

August 20, 2014 10:23 am ET

GameDay Recycling Challenge is returning this year as college football stadiums will compete to see which school produces the least amount of waste &#...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events