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US NGO asks ACC to justify HFR manufacturers’ adherence to Responsible Care principles

In the wake of the Chicago Tribune investigation of the US halogenated flame retardant industry, the US non-governmental organisation Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has written to American Chemistry Council (ACC) asking it to justify the continued membership of the companies involved. In the letter to ACC president Cal Dooley, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families director Andy Igrejas asks ACC to either expel Albemarle, Chemtura, and ICL Industries for violating the Council’s Responsible Care principles; dispute in detail the accuracy of the Chicago Tribune reporting; or explain how the business practices and activities the stories describe comport with Responsible Care and chemical industry conduct standards.

“For years the American Chemistry Council has claimed that the chemical industry adheres to the highest possible ethical standards, practices science with great integrity, and conducts itself with transparency and accountability to the general public. The ACC has underscored these claims with its Responsible Care program, which you describe as mandatory for all members. Part of Responsible Care is adhering to its Guiding Principles. The first of these is ‘To lead in ethical ways that increasingly benefit society, the economy and the environment’,” wrote Mr Igrejas on behalf of the more than 300 businesses, environmental and health organisations, and labour unions that make up the organisation’s coalition.

“Responsible Care has been central to the chemical industry’s public relations and lobbying efforts for years. If the deeply unethical behaviour documented in the Tribune series is considered acceptable under Responsible Care then it is meaningless as a code of conduct,” said Mr Igrejas in a statement explaining his group’s letter.

At publication time, ACC had not provided Chemical Watch with a response to the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families letter.

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