Greenwash of the Month: Chemical Company Poses as Supporter of Safe Chemicals Act

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Is your chemical company getting a lot of flak for all those nasty health problems that the toxic chemicals you produce have been causing? Don’t worry!  Follow the steps below to see a great chemical company marketing tactic guide that’s sure to gain your corporation better standing as a trusted, sustainable entity:

 1. Pose as a friendly, “green” chemical company that cares about public health by pretending to support the very chemical regulation bill that is designed to regulate unsafe chemicals like the ones you make. 

2. Wait. 

3. Receive approval and increased trust from the public.

4.  At the same time, spend millions of dollars on lobbyists who will fight said chemical regulations as hard as they can.

 Seem dishonest to you?  Well, that’s pretty similar to what Albemarle, the maker of much-too-ubiquitous toxic brominated flame retardants, did this month.  On August 11, The chemical company posted a blog supporting the National Day of Action for Safe Chemicals that CEH, along with many other health organizations, had participated in the day before, to encourage Senators to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.  They posted this blog in support of the stroller brigade on their handy, pseudo-“eco-friendly” blog, Earthwise (a hotbed of greenwashed chemical propaganda itself). 

 The post claims that “Albemarle supports the stroller brigade and their efforts to promote safe chemicals that include flame retardants, green principles, and sustainability.” 

 Umm, we’re supposed to believe that flame retardants are suddenly “safe chemicals” now? 

 I don’t think so. 

 If you don’t know already, brominated flame retardants, found in everything from baby carriers and portable cribs, to television sets and computers, are known or probable carcinogens, neurotoxins, and substances linked to hormone disruption, lowered IQ, and birth defects.

 Here’s what the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says about just one of Albemarle’s many flame retardants: it causes genetic damage in human cells, reduces fertility, and causes liver cancer.

 It’s infuriating to think that Albemarle is using our work to promote their risky chemicals as “safe.”  In reality, if the Safe Chemicals Act passed, government regulators will have important new tools to protect our children and families from the toxic experiments that companies like Albemarle have been imposing on us for decades. 

 Sadly, corporate greenwash is a high stakes game that companies play against us—because when they win, the loss is our health.

Want to do something about it? Take action in less than 30 seconds to tell 6 influential baby product manufacturers to stop use of toxic flame retardants like the ones Albemarle makes.

 Support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011!  Make a call to your Senator today.

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Ali manages the website and coordinates the online communications of CEH. She works with the communications and development staff to create messaging strategies and public education content for CEH’s supporters and online audience. A Bay Area native, Ali attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received a B.A. in Sociology and Cultural Studies. This allowed her to live abroad in Argentina, where she studied Latin American history and learned valuable Spanish language skills. Ali is thrilled to be part of an organization that advocates for healthy communities so effectively.