HOUSTON — Reaction was mixed at Flexpo '98 over the conference organizer's decision to include a presentation from Greenpeace, the environmental group that vehemently has criticized the PVC industry because of the material's alleged health hazards.
At the June 24-26 conference, which focused on PVC replacement opportunities, Greenpeace Midwest toxins campaigner Charlie Cray outlined the group's concerns. He maintained that performance, cost and environmental issues are linked and need to be addressed as one.
Two vinyl industry officials at the Houston conference questioned Greenpeace's contribution.
``This conference was all about price/performance, and [Cray] didn't address that topic,'' said Tim Patterson, environmental solutions director for PVC maker Geon Co. of Avon Lake, Ohio.
Vinyl Institute technical director Frank Borrelli said the presentation added nothing to the meeting.
Attendees from outside the PVC world weren't as concerned.
``[Cray] was a little emotional, but some of us are equally emotional when we talk about polymers and plastics,'' said Joseph Schardl, market research manager for Fina Oil and Chemicals of Dallas.
``It served a purpose,'' said Pete Perron, vice president of Solvay Engineered Polymers of Grand Prairie, Texas. ``But I think [Cray] tempered his comments a little.''
For his part, Cray said the experience was a positive one, in spite of a false fire alert that interrupted his presentation.
``I didn't get that much hostility out of the crowd,'' Cray said. ``[Greenpeace] is offering an assessment of alternatives and that's what people wanted to hear.''