Lawmakers Call on the American Chemistry Council to Take Action

Washington D.C. – Twenty-one state lawmakers from ten states denounced the tactics of the U.S. chemical industry and sent a letter to the head of the chemical industry trade group, asking for them to take action against unethical members. The legislators make up a group of public health champions, all of which have taken steps to regulate toxic chemicals in their respective state legislatures.

Having seen the dirty and deceptive practices of this industry first hand, the group was inspired to send a the letter to the head of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Cal Dooley, asking the ACC to take immediate action to address the behaviors of its member companies by expelling the members from their council or accounting for the member company actions.

Earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune’s four-part investigative series on flame retardant chemicals revealed the deeply disturbing practices at the heart of the chemical industry. The series chronicled flat-out lies by chemical industry witnesses before state legislatures and deliberate misrepresentation of science, all in service of a successful campaign to avoid government and public oversight.

Legislators who signed the letter to the ACC had a front-row view of the tactics outlined in the Tribune from the deceptive testimony of paid witnesses to the “Citizens for Fire Safety” advertisements and mailers.

Maryland Delegate and Assistant Majority Leader Jim Hubbard beat the chemical industry despite their campaign spending against him.  “The chemical industry spent aggressively trying to defeat our legislation in Maryland.  They sent personal mailers targeting me as the bill sponsor and suggested that I was going to allow people’s homes to burn down.  Despite the claims of ‘Citizens for Fire Safety,’ we had the Maryland firefighters, the fire chiefs and the state fire marshal on our side.”

“In Maine, we came to expect an army of well-paid lobbyists and dirty tactics from the chemical industry.  The good news is that the people of Maine and our legislators saw through their spending and half-truths.  Our bill to phase out certain toxic flame retardants passed by a near unanimous margin – with Republicans and Democrats supporting the bill,” said Former Speaker of the Maine House Hannah Pingree, also sponsor of several successful flame retardant bans in Maine.

The letter from state legislators builds on the growing concern with the chemical industry’s lobbying tactics and distortion of science. State legislators continue to introduce legislation to address toxic chemicals in light of a weak federal system for regulating chemicals. Legislators from the following states signed the letter: California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.