Reader suspicious of Viewpoint on PVC
I have come to regard Plastics News' editorial page as a kind of foreign viewpoint of the plastics scene, something like reading a French newspaper account of American politics. You get some of the facts right but then seem to pass everything through a strange cultural filter that is foreign to my view of things.
Your July 6 piece, ``Vinyl's rueful past threatens its future,'' is an example. I ask myself after reading this, what is on your agenda?
You don't reflect any of your readers' views that I know of with this editorial, and I know many readers. What is the purpose of dredging up 25- to 40-year-old stories about issues settled long ago? The Houston Chronicle series that you reference was bad enough, but they can be excused as having the ignorance of the general press. What's your excuse? You're supposed to know about these things.
What news is here for today's suppliers, processors or customers of PVC? There is flatly no connection between PVC's vinyl chloride monomer-cancer link and the tobacco issue. Why do you insinuate in your editorial, and the always-related cartoon, that there is?
I've taken the time to read the Houston articles, which are a curiously assembled patchwork of old VCM reports, some relatively recent environmental scrapes by Formosa, and a totally unrelated reference to a Swedish study of plasticizers.
The thrust of the articles seems to be to support the Texas trial lawyers and their attempt to make a class-action case out of VCM exposure like asbestos. It's not news that Texas lawyers like to build cases against big companies to earn contingency fees, but I don't see why this is of interest to the readers of Plastics News. What are you trying to say here?
Forgive me a twinge of paranoia, but you expose an anti-PVC bias which has no basis in fact, but merely repeats the equally baseless attacks on vinyl by Greenpeace. Their ``frequent, powerful attacks on vinyl'' that you reference are widely known to be without merit by any of your readers knowledgeable in the subject. You insult us by even using them as a support for your contention that there is an echo here.
The only echo is noise, not news. What is the vinyl industry supposed to do? Are we to make a Clintonesque apology to the world for past sins? What nonsense!
Giving OSHA credit, by the way, for all of the VCM improvements implies that the industry had to be forced to act. That was not the case. Those of us who lived through it remember how quickly and willingly it was accomplished worldwide. I don't think OSHA had any part in Europe or Asia doing what was needed.
Perhaps that is your agenda? You think we are all charlatans and have to be coerced by government and regulation to do the right thing. That seemed to be the thread that led you to the mini-crusade for raising the minimum wage a while back. That was another nonissue for us.
None of this squares with the plastics industry that I know, and you do us, your industry readers and advertisers, a disservice by holding these views, if that is what they are.
John P. Dellevigne
HPG International Inc.
U.S. press makers don't need Feds' help
The author sent the following letter to Tennessee Sens. Bill Frist and Fred Thompson and Reps. Bart Gordon and Bob Clement.
I am enclosing a copy of an article from Plastics News on May 25, 1998. The major suppliers of injection molding equipment appear to have a problem with the International Monetary Fund helping competitors in Asian countries.
I am a custom injection molder and a user of this equipment. I did not notice their concern when the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed. NAFTA had a significant impact on the injection molding business. Many companies went to Mexico and started organizations to provide this service. I have had to change the type of business we solicit and recently purchased a product line to market that will take up excess capacity.
The injection molding industry needs competitive pricing on new equipment to maintain our competitive edge. Every week in our mail is a notice of an auction of a large molder that no longer can compete.
My comment to the machine manufacturers in the United States is, ``Welcome to the global economy.'' I urge you not to place tariffs or restrictions on IMF money, which will allow U.S. machinery companies to maintain higher prices.
Almar Molded Products Inc.